July 30, 2009 | | 4

Merauder, God Is I

Merauder: God Is I

Merauder, one of the originators of what has spawned into modern day metalcore, are back with an unbridled vengeance and their best offering since 1996’s Master Killer. God Is I sees the band returning to their roots with a ferocious mixture of bruising hardcore and pummeling metal. This isn’t your whiny, clean vocal, generic metalcore here kids — this is a lead pipe to the skull, fueled by crushing mosh and confrontational vocals.

After several listens to God Is I, I can’t help but feel that what Merauder have accomplished here is nothing less than a near perfect blend of hardcore and metal elements. Massive riffs, slick leads, bruising breakdowns, groove and an aggressive vocal delivery all combine for one hell of an album. Every influence is in it’s proper place, nothing is overdone and the production is spot on. What more could you ask for?

Holy hell. “Until” opens up the album with some massive riffs and thundering drums. Merauder settle into a bludgeoning groove as Jorge Rosado’s familiar growls and shouts come in, spitting aggression and vitriol. Man, there’s some serious groove to this song. “Until” will certainly leave you foaming at the mouth, ready to “crush your enemies” at the drop of a hat. There’s a beefy breakdown at 2:45 that’s got back alley beat down written all over it — the lead that follows fits perfectly and shreds thoroughly.

“Ratcatcher” starts off slowly with plodding drums and monolithic guitars. Rosado let’s loose with a few vocal volleys before chugging riffs and thundering drums get you nodding your head to some hulking hardcore grooves. This is a bit slower than the previous song, but no less devastating. The layered vocals before the chorus/breakdown kick in add some nice depth to the track. Sweet merciful crap this song is heavy. There’s another slick lead at 2:50 that shreds like no tomorrow. The gang shouts give you ample moments to get involved in the album with flying fists and elbows.

Built On Blood
Man, the bludgeoning continues with this burly track. The riffing on this one is straight out of the NYHC instruction manual, but amped up to 11, resulting in some seriously aggressive mosh and rhythms. The gang shouted chorus again lets you have your moment in the sun and shout along with the band. Holy shit, the thundering breakdown just before the three minute mark just about signals the Apocalypse. It’s quickly followed with another sweet lead that borders on technical insanity.

After a brief sound clip explaining the difference between thugs and gangsters, Merauder gets down to business with some memorable guitar work and earth rattling drums. Rosado’s vocals have a bit of a feel similar to his work with Ragmen (see our review of their self-title album). A massive breakdown at 2:45 will have you hurling furniture around your room in no time. The chorus is pretty damned aggressive and has a very honest, real feel to them.

Forgotten Children
A pretty catchy riff opens up “Forgotten Children” as a thick rhythm joins in. The vocals are raw and hit a much deeper range, as well as a somewhat cleaner delivery. Rosado’s vocal work has matured so much through the years and could very well be at its peak. Again, a chunky groove is the driving force behind this song. Please note the fitting lead that starts around 2:25 — it has a great rock vibe to it. The guitars just before the four minute mark have a touch of melody and melancholy to them as the layered shouts and screams finish out the song.

God Is I
I’m usually a proponent of band’s selecting their strongest song of an album as their title track (if they have one). Merauder don’t let me down as “God Is I” opens up with some slick guitar work and aggressive vocals after a very brief, muted sound clip. The drummer is seriously intent on destroying his equipment on this song as burly riff after burly riff is hurled at your skull. If the previous five songs hadn’t already done enough damage to my neck, the breakdowns and chorus on this one will surely be the end of my vertebrae — damn this is another heavy song. Be sure to pay attention to the lead around 2:50.

Perdona Me
After some slick, memorable guitars Rosado’s vocals come in gruff and honest — very similar to his Ragmen work. This song, overall, has a more metalcore-like feel to it, but with a distinct hardcore vocal edge. The bludgeoning, beatdown riffs and thundering drums just after the two minute mark cannot be ignored, nor can the one that ends the song.

Hell Captive
“Hell Captive” starts off a bit slower with building guitars and steady drum work for the first 30 seconds before dark, deeper (and nearly spoken) vocals come in. Rosado’s vocal delivery on this one is the most varied, stretching his range from deep and gruff to higher end shrieks. Overall, it’s the slowest track on the album, but also its darkest. The lead after the three minute mark is definitely the highlight of “Hell Captive.”

This is an interesting time in the album to put an intro, but it works well to introduce the next track which is entirely delivered in Spanish.

I knew I should have taken Spanish in high school instead of French (thanks a whole bunch, mom). I have absolutely no idea what’s being said in “Ahora” (aside from ahora meaning “now” in English), but I can say without a doubt that Rosado is fucking pissed. This is one of the heavier tracks on the album, complete with massive, bone crunching riffs and thundering drum work. I like the slowdown at the three minute mark — it’s the first of its kind on the album and makes the song that much more dramatic.

Never Surrender
love the opening guitar work to “Never Surrender.” It lets you know right away what you’re in store for. Hell, there’s even a slick lead before the 30 second mark. Rosado’s straightforward vocal delivery is not only refreshing, but fully and completely in-your-face aggressive. There’s another short lead around 1:45 that’s accompanied by some earth shaking drum work. The guitars after the three minute point have some serious groove to them.

See You In Hell
Apparently there should be twelve tracks on the album, but my promotional copy only came with 11. So you’re on your own to fine out about “See You in Hell.”

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Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: