|Review: Scala Mercalli - 12th Level|
Label: AB Records
Year released: 2005
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Review online: July 31, 2006
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
I reviewed this band's demo a couple of years ago and, while it didn't break any new grounds (like most, in all fairness), it did show some promise. Here we are now with the band's first album, and I'm sorry to say something went wrong in the transition from demo to album. The first thing one notices is that the vocals are... Well... Atrocious. They are too high in the mix and waaaayyyy too high-pitched and, too put it simply, they are downright annoying. I don't know what the hell they were thinking, but while the vocals were a bit of a low point on the demo, they were at least tolerable. Here they ruin the listening experience, and the music just isn't good enough to make up for it. You get a good riff here and there, but overall this feels forced and uninspired - and when you get a good riff, well the screamy high-pitched, way-over-the-singer's-capabilities vocals step in to ruin the moment. Frankly, the few good moments are not worth putting yourself through this, and you can get that kind of riffage from a gazillion bands anyway. Even the back vocals sound crappy. And even though I'm not one to pick too much on the production, here things sound way too muddy for the genre and that does affect the listening experience. The heavy/power genre that Scala Mercalli caters to should sound more crunchy than this. I can't help but feel that the guys rushed the material out the door before it was ready. Too bad, as the potential is still there - some songs start off very well but degenerate quickly. The band clearly needs to refine its material if it wants to be on the map in the sea of bands playing today. Back to the drawing board, boys.
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