It's a dirty word in indie music circles, and unfortunately it's becoming more and more well known in metal as well. For those who don't know, a Hipster is someone who solely listens to music because it will grant them credibility and/or access to attractive members of their preferred gender.
Of course, the good thing about metal is that for much of it's existence as a genre it's been incredibly unhip. Back when SABBATH was around Krautrock and Folk was the hip thing, back when thrash was around dudes were digging NEW ORDER and other Post-Punk bands, and so on and so forth. Metal is masculine and aggressive- something that's very unhip.
Unfortunately, despite everyone's best efforts, Metal has recently become, well.. hip. The arty drone of SUNN O))), the pretentious (but awesome) tides of noise generated by ISIS and CULT OF LUNA et. al have made metal very hip. Now I don't mind it if metal gets some extra exposure, but much to my dismay there's already bands blanding out there sound and getting rid of the metal edges in an attempt to appeal to this hipster market. PELICAN fell victim to it on their terrible "shitty indie rock with distortion" album "City of Echoes", ISIS dropped most of the heavy bits for In "The Absence Of Truth", and so on and so forth. The Hipster style of music - music that's boring as shit and really bland- has already begun infecting Metal.
And this is where this band comes in.
ROBOTS AND EMPIRE are the culmination of this disease. They're the logical evolution. A bunch of hipsters with no idea of Metal, these guys have released possibly the worst Metal AND Indie record of the year. There's a fair bit borrowed from late 90's hardcore, definitely a big CAVE IN influence here, and there's also a fair bit borrowed from the post-whatever bands like the aforementioned ISIS and PELICAN and whatnot. There's also some sort of DEFTONES action here and there as well, and the result is AIDS in audio form.
Yep, every song is thoroughly lifeless and completely unmemorable, as a collection of terrible mid paced hardcore riffs pass you by aimlessly. From the terrible, almost Nu-Metalish jumpdafuckup riffs of "Erase Your Name", to the aptly titled insomniac cure that's "Pure Shit", there's nothing of any worth. "Flightless Wonder" has some OK riffs action, but it's quickly screwed up by the vocals.
There just really is nothing going for this. The best way to describe this would be 'Completely Lifeless', because there's not an ounce of feeling here, and there's nothing memorable here. It's a few hip 20-somethings cranking out their vague idea of heavy music, and to be frank, it blows hard. Avoid this album like the plague.
(Online January 13, 2008)