In doing a little background research for this review it has become apparent to me that COPROFAGO’s style is often compared to MESHUGGAH (and less frequently CYNIC), often to the point of calling them imitators rather than “inspired by”. Since I have little experience with MESHUGGAH’s music (other than waking up from a half-sleep to cry out “what is this bloody crap?!” once when a various artists CD switched to them) I will take their word for the similarities and leave it at that in my review. Fortunately, “Unorthodox Creative Criteria” inspired no such outbursts; well, not at first anyway.
The first 6 songs are technically impressive, angry and violent…crushing drums with some nice off-time (syncopated?) rhythms and a fair share of nasty blast beating. Keeping perfect jug-time with the drums, the guitars are tuned low and rip out some pretty impressive riffing and lead work. Some different ‘dirty’ vocal styles, both low and higher, mix things up a bit in the vocal department.
My limited exposure to “Jazz Metal” leads me to say that a lot of the music, stylistically, is similar to PANTERA, with one chorus coming dangerously close to the title track on “Cowboys From Hell”. Halfway through “The Inborn Mechanics” there is a bizarre instrumental break which foreshadows things to come later in the disc, which is the point at which I became a little less excited by COPROFAGO, although perhaps the album title should have prepared me. Had I been in my half-awake state I would have cried out: “Who put this f#$%ing Joe Satriani disc on?!”. As suddenly as the ass-kicking began, it ends and the disc becomes instrumental jazz wanking, the “Lounge Metal” familiar to fans of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai or even Al Dimeola. All traces of brutality are gone for the next few tracks and while it kicks back in for half a song later on (and, at the end, an ineffective combination of the 2 styles) the rest of the disc is basically this; guitar solos, keyboard solos, bass solos in the Jazz\Fusion vein.
Not being a fan of this style (Jazz\Fusion that is) in the first place led to disappointment for me, but even if I did like it, the schizophrenic style change nearly ruins the disc for me. It is too abrupt and too absolute; gradually leading into and back out of these songs might have been better. The liner indicates that some of these Jazz compositions are “bonus tracks” which sort of explains the situation, yet at the same time I can’t help but think they should have been tacked on to the end rather than stuck in the middle.
If any of the names I’ve mentioned turn your crank, this may be just the album you are looking for: it’s definitely top-notch in terms of musicianship and production (crisp and clean and heavy) and ,for me, the heavy parts of the record are quite satisfying. Sadly, the much too abrupt and clashing style change pretty much wrecked the experience for me. I hate to go down to a 5 (identity crisis) rating, or as high as an 8 (which is certainly applicable for fans of both genres). I’ll go with a 7 because the first half was so friggin’ great and their name makes me giggle a bit. (Online April 21, 2006)