Duck and cover

Scum of the Earth Blah, Blah, Blah: Love Songs for the New MillenniumEclipse Records

1.5 out of 5 stars

Blah, Blah, Blah, the nu-metal mockery of ex-White Zombie guitarist Riggs, camouflages a masquerade of modern metal clichs behind macabre industrial programming and classic Zombie horror.

But what old Riggs failed to take into consideration was that donning jungle fatigues in mainstream music’s bleak urban sprawls just ain’t gonna do much good. Enlisting Powerman 5000 guitarist Mike Tempesta, his brother John (of Exodus and Testament fame), and the tech-drumming prowess of System of a Down’s Jon Dolmayan, Riggs truly did go out of his way to make Scum of the Earth the strongest nu-metal outfit of the new millennium.

Tragically, nu-metal still sucks.

Bury Your Dead Cover Your Tracks Victory Records

3.5 out of 5 stars

Bury Your Dead embodies new-school metal-hardcore, whatever that means nowadays.

Absent are the trite metal riffs, hackneyed tales of high school heartbreak and androgynous fashion sense of the band’s contemporaries (cough, Orange County, cough). In their place stand unrelenting old-school hardcore energy, heavier-than-a-tank breakdowns and brutal honesty.

Falling in line with past greats such as Buried Alive and Madball, Bury Your Dead isn’t the first to do what it does, but it does it really, really well. While Cover Your Tracks does not have the power to bury the skeletons left in Victory Records’ closet, it does unearth Bury Your Dead’s undeniable talent for putting the hard back into hardcore.

Skindred BabylonLava/Warner Brothers Records

2 out of 5 stars

Move over Castro, Jamaica has become the new Caribbean threat.

While America braved the insidious ska-punk onslaught of the mid-90s valiantly, a new dread-locked enemy is at our nation’s gates: reggae-poisoned nu-metal. Schwah? For real.

Leading this insurgence is none other than British turncoats Skindred, whose debut Babylon slurs raga-flows la Bounty Killer over feather-weight agro-riffing the likes of Korn and Limp Bizkit.

As these two elements coalesce, though, Babylon ends up diluting its own lethal bite, ultimately siring 16 tracks of watered-down Trans-Atlantic washout.

While the album is sure to draft reefer-maddened Ozzfest-ites into its regimens, America’s masses can rest easy knowing that Skindred will surely not be destroying Babylon.

Fear Before the March of FlamesArt DamageEqual Vision Records

2.5 out of 5 stars

In an age where dissonant has become synonymous with artistic in indie rock, masses of high-school garage rockers have begun banging out ear-splitting discordant jams in hopes of becoming the next avant-garde noise-rock idols.

Sadly, it takes a little more than disregard for euphony to create an iconoclast.

Mile High City-youngster Fear Before the March of Flames has taken up rank as the new voice for these minions, but inexperience seems to be drowning the band out.

Building off a foundation of classic noise-core staples Converge and Botch, The Flame’s latest offering, Art Damage, veers dangerously into the rock-star sass of The Blood Brothers and in the process acquires The Brothers’ penchant for cacophony as well.

Time can only tell where these budding noisemakers will end up, but let us hope they aren’t marching straight into the flames of avant-garde oblivion.

Bleeding ThroughThis Is Love, This Is MurderousEqual Vision Records

3.5 out of 5 stars

Though Bleeding Through have donned the finely flat-ironed faux-hawks and jet black wardrobes of their Orange County compatriots, they possess one thing that the region’s new breed of metal mockeries do not: skill.

The band’s macabre conjuring of Scandinavian black-metal gloom and American hardcore sincerity redefines the over-played metalcore mark and sets their latest release, This is Love, This is Murderous apart from its callow contemporaries.

Pitting the maniacal melodies of At The Gates’ Slaughter of the Soul against the heavier-than-thou chugging of Disembodied’s Heretic, Bleeding Through have taken up arms with the likes of Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage as American’s new metal masters.

Don’t let the mascara fool, though, This is Love, This is Murderous is a pure American metal massacre.

Dan Fletcher