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Poisonblack – Of Rust and Bones: Review

Poisonblack is a gothic metal band formed in Finland around 2000. Since then, they have released four albums. Their newest, Of Rust and Bones, was released on March 22 through Century Media. This is the first album I have heard by the band, and I am not overly impressed. Though it is not a record to avoid, it is certainly not one that necessarily must be heard.

The Music (rating: C+)

  1. Sun Shines Black
  2. Leech
  3. My World
  4. Buried Alive
  5. Invisible
  6. Casket Case
  7. Down the Drain
  8. Alone
  9. The Last Song

I would consider myself rather inexperienced with the gothic metal genre, and this is not a good start. This album feels very mainstream and diluted, and is very difficult to separate from the normal radio music. Still, I doubt it will get extensive radio air time. There are similarities between this album and material by Evanescence, but I do not say so as a  compliment. Both bands, in my opinion, have very little to offer to the music scene.

In metal (maybe not gothic metal), the expectations of instrumental performance are generally much higher than any other genre. Poisonblack does not live up to these expectations. There are a few riffs that marginally surpass average, but overall everything is bland. The vocals are very generically phrased, and there is nothing technically impressive about them. Both the drums and bass do the absolute minimum for supporting the music. The beats are boring and the fills are stale, while the bassist offers very little aside from steadily strummed single notes. And to top it all off, the guitar, which is usually the focus of heavy metal, delivers uninteresting riffs (for the most part) and pointless solos. None of the instruments are able to save this album.

And though there still could have been potential with the musicianship, it does not show on this album. The lyrics, even for its typical shallow content, are of low quality. Much of it deals with relationships, but in such a way that only dim-witted individuals would appreciate. Compare these lyrics to those of Pain of Salvation’s Remedy Lane if you disagree. But also, the general song structure is substance-less and repetitive. Much of the album has a basic guitar riff verse followed by a strummed chorus. It is painfully simple, ordinary, and annoying. Ultimately everything that may have been salvaged from the instrumental wreckage was tossed away in the poor musicianship.

But Of Rust and Bones is not completely worthless. The album’s quality can be described as a parabola, where the front and back ends are strongest and there is an evident dip in quality with the middle tracks. Still, the first and last handful of songs are not significantly better than the average. But they were able to make this album mildly enjoyable. However, the album as a whole is a mixture of unintellectual musical thought and incompetent instrumental execution, but maybe not as harsh as it sounds. Nonetheless, it is not one of my recommendations.

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