Organized chaos. That’s the description that kept popping into my head as I was listening to The Rodeo Idiot Engine’s latest offering, Malaise. When first diving into the album, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of noise being created by the band. Guitars are heavy, vocals bark and scream dark lyrics (i.e. “Dead never cry, they just fade away. Cross never lies, just sleep and pray”), the bass has a persistent deep thud, and the drums go from blast beat to off time pounding in a matter of seconds. But the more you listen, the more you can see how much thought is going into how these songs are put together.
Take opening track “La Parfum.” It starts out like any other heavy album might, with rolling drums and feedback leading into heavy riffs and screaming. The drums then go manic as the rest of the band continues their heavy assault. But throughout all this, the guitar is surprisingly melodic, which manages to pull the whole song together amidst the chaos. This is a consistent theme throughout the album as the band balances how extreme they can make their music, while also keeping things grounded with some melody.
The band describes themselves as “blackened screamo violence.” While I’m not sure exactly what that means, I agree that some parts of it are accurate. I’m probably too caught up in what I think screamo is from all those mid-2000’s bands that kind of took over at that time, but I hear more of the blackened violence here than anything else. They do a good job of mixing elements of crust, powerviolence, grindcore, metalcore, and straightforward hardcore, peppered with a few moments of softer instrumentals to break everything up.
While I appreciate the general heaviness of this album, there were some parts that I found to be too much, particularly the seven minute instrumental track “Ildoak,” that serves as a kind of intermission. The song is a slow building march, which I admit is a cool concept and a nice way to break up an album like this. It almost reminds me of some the intermissions Tragedy would put into their albums, but with it being so long it just became repetitive and mind numbing. By the 4 minute mark I was ready for it to be over, and it kind of killed the rest of the album for me. I’ve started just skipping over this track as I continue to listen to the album.
All in all, The Rodeo Idiot Engine definitely knows how to make some good heavy music that pushes boundaries while also maintaining melodicism. The first half of this album is amazing, but nothing really stands out to me on the second half. Probably because my mind was numb. This is definitely one for fans of metal-tinged hardcore to check out, but I don’t expect it to blow everyone away.
3.5 / 5 Stars