ELEGY OF BLOOD
It's amazing how many of these second and third tier "classic metal" bands there are out there. Specifically, it's truly amazing how many bands there are that around around 20 years old, never made much of an impact, but still crank out this kind of heavy metal that touches on thrash elements from time to time. We all know the big names that have had success doing this kind of music - Metal Church, Helloween - you know...classic metal bands that are either grand in their sound, heavy in their riffs, or both from time to time. For every great one though, there's always the more workmanlike bands that put out solid material but just can't find that extra whatever to take them over the top. Bands like Meliah Rage, Tankard or Helstar immediately jump to my mind.
Marauder are definitely one of those bands. As a metalhead, you've undoubtedly heard the name. Unless you are an uber-hardcore fan though who's collection is $50,000 or more deep, it's doubtful you can name too many songs. Much like all of their career, ELEGY OF BLOOD is a deeply European sounding, definitively workmanlike effort that lacks any sort of pizazz or flair to separate it from anything else out there. The long and the short of it is that there's nothing here where you would go, "man, that sucks". At the same time there's no song that screams, "add this to my IPod". It's a collection of well played, decent songs from fairly standard musicians and a singer who's not at all distinct.
When it comes to ELEGY OF BLOOD, it all seemingly stops with vocalist Alexandros Kostarakos. He's got an interesting voice that has a lower end like Rammstein and a scream similar to Ripper Owens. That said, he's not as appealing as either of them. Songs like "Warriors" plod along while he walks through the song showcasing his "talents". The song is so dominantly European vocally that it distracts from the overall appeal of the song. This is a feature that plagues the entire album. My hunch is that if he sang in his native Greek, this would be far more exciting a listening experience.
Kostakarakos is not the biggest problem though. In short, all of the songs here are surprisingly plain and lack a lot of dynamic playing. This is particularly noticeable in the guitars. Giorgos Sofranos and Andreas Tsaousis are as ordinary as any marginal old school metal guitarist you would here in your favorite local metal club. Their riffs on songs like "Roman Empire" and "The Great War" just lay there; going nowhere and doing nothing to draw you into each and every song. In short, their material is boring and it effects the entire disc.
PITRIFF RATING - 30/100 - There's a reason why some bands make it, while others just don't. Marauder is clearly one of those bands that was dealt EXACTLY the amount of success their talent called for. ELEGY OF BLOOD is as plain and dry as a rice cake with a cup of sand chaser. Definitely not memorable at all.