After a listen to “God Is I”, I needed to smack myself repeatedly in the face for never having heard of these guys before. A brief foray into MERAUDER’s history revealed that this quintet is pretty huge in both the Hardcore and Metal scene. They’ve even played gigs with MOTÖRHEAD and MORBID ANGEL, making my total lack of knowledge of them all the more embarrassing.
Why? Because this album kicked my ass left and right.
“God Is I” opens up with some skull-shatteringly heavy riffs combined with a blood-curling roar from vocalist Jorge Rosado. His set of lungs sound like they belong on a Death Metal album, not a Hardcore one—yet his powerful voice blends in very well with the rest of the band. A lot of Hardcore bands I hear feature vocalists who provide only monotonous roars and growls devoid of any attempt to change pitch or timbre. I applaud thee Rosado, as your brutal vocals are filled with energy and variety that is such an important staple in MERAUDER.
“Ratcatcher” features Groove Thrash riffs that strongly bring to mind LAMB OF GOD, as well as a blistering guitar solo that again made me believe this band leans more heavily on the “Metal” side in “Hardcore Metal”. The great thing about the guitars is that they continue with this groove-laden pattern, especially on “Forgotten Children”, yet manage to bring in lots of truly heavy Death Metal riffs (best heard on the intro of “Hell Captive”) complete with that “crunchy” production reminiscent of CANNIBAL CORPSE (hear that thudding bass on “Built on Blood”!).
Bobby Blood lays down solid beats, extra-heavy on the bass drums. When compared to bands like NILE and BEHEMOTH, the drum-work isn’t exactly impressive, but Blood did his work—they certainly helped keep the focus on the guitars! On the next album however, it would be great to hear some more fills and greater variety from the drum set.
MERAUDER have certainly proved themselves to be one of the best Hardcore Metal acts out there, and are a formidable quintet indeed. No songs off this album are forgettable and even with the sound off I can still hear their tracks running in my head. These proud Brooklynites are masters of their trade—listen to them. Now.
Recommended songs: “Ratcatcher”, “Forgotten Children”, “God Is I”
(Online August 14, 2009)