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Shaolin Death Squad - Intelligent Design CD (album) cover


Shaolin Death Squad


Progressive Metal

4.07 | 76 ratings

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4 stars "Intelligent Design" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Texas based progressive metal act Shaolin Death Squad. The album was released independently in November 2006. While the "Shaolin Death Squad (2004)" EP showed great promise, itīs obvious that it was the bandīs first release and it was somewhat immature in the songwriting department. It did however introduce the bandīs obsession with martial arts and asian myths and customs. The band members have even taken on stage names like The White Swan, Black Ninja and Red Dragon and pose in traditional asian clothes on their press photos. Pretty unconventional for a metal act.

The whole image thing is of course just a means to an end though, and none of that would work without great music, and weīre certainly treated to that on "Intelligent Design". The music on the album is a sort of alternative/progressive metal. Itīs not easy to describe how the music sounds, but there is a definite Faith No More influence present. Predominantly because lead vocalist The White Swan has a voice and singing style that are reminiscent of the voice and singing style of Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle...etc.), but there are similarities in the instrumental part of the music too.

Itīs very eclectic music with strong melodies, great vocal harmony and choir work, and a general disregard for genre labels. There are heavy, and at times almost thrashy sections on the album, more mellow parts, epic parts, and quirky almost carnival bizarre parts. Itīs an incredibly adventurous release featuring high level musicianship, a well sounding production, and songwriting thatīs generally intriguing. Keyboards play a big role in the music in addition to guitars, bass, drums and vocals.

While "Intelligent Design" is certainly both a challenging and adventurous release by Shaolin Death Squad, itīs also quite accessible, which should stand in contrast to each other, but somehow doesnīt. Those catchy melodies are the main reason, but even when the band play their most complex parts, they never lose focus on delivering memorable music and thatīs probably one of their greatest strengths. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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