Monday, November 14, 2011

Merauder - Master Killer

Merauder - Master Killer
Release - 1996

Story by David Hayter, guitarist for Vegan Straight Edge band Kingdom.

Editor's note:  Since this is an album on a major label, there is no download link available.

I was a metal head before I got into hardcore, and to me it was just like meaner punk, which was awesome.  I liked a few punk bands, but I hated shit like The Casualties and Anti-Flag because it was all poppy-sounding to my brutal ears.  Hardcore was finally the kind of punk I needed.  It was still super rough around the edges, but had the punk vibes/aesthetic I really admired.  I definitely had a barrier in my mind between the two genres though.

I'd always check out new bands on people's recommendation, or just hearing a dude at a show say something like, "Oh man, I was listening to X by X the other day.  So good," or, "I saw so-and-so last week.  They were so awesome!"  One of those bands I heard a lot about was Merauder, so I took it upon myself to figure out what this band was about.  I finally got a burned copy of Master Killer and sat down excited to hear it through.

When I started the Master Killer album, something felt different.  Not just the music, but the production made it sound even darker.  I'd heard intros to songs like the one in "Time Ends" before, with inverted power chords and mid-tempo drumming.  I figured it was just that: an intro.  I thought the song would pick up and a punk beat would kick in any second. Yeah, that never happened.  Instead, I was met with double-bass drumming and single-note riffing for 10 solid tracks.  There's not a single punk beat on the record.  I was confused at first.  Was this hardcore?  But how?  Listening to Merauder, I realized that there wasn't a strict division between punk and metal stylistically.  It is more aesthetic. It's more about how you carry your band, who you associate with, the kinds of shows you play and the overall vibe to your musical personality.  It was no surprise to me when I eventually discovered that Cave In, Converge, Botch and Coalesce were all considered to be in the same genre as Bane, Floorpunch and Slapshot.  I was having trouble writing "simple" punk songs for the first hardcore band I was starting, but then I realized, "Oh shit, I can play metal riffs, too!"  Thanks, Merauder!

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