She Said Destroy - Time Like Vines - Candlelight Records 2006
Running Time: 45:07
It's almost strange these days to see a band from Norway without members painted like demonic albino raccoons, bedecked in the very latest in historical weaponry, and crowing on about their "gloried winterpagan homeland" or what have you. This isn't to say, though, that She Said Destroy are any less devastating in their musical attack. To the contrary, the expansive sound of SSD brings to mind at times Meshuggah, Unsane, and Botch - all known for their destructive take on metal.
And Metal it is, kids. This isn't some pansified circle jerk of screamo cutters, nor Scandinavia's answer to Hatebreed. In the opening lines of "Armageddon, Anyone?", SSD references everyone from Mastodon to Mindgrinder to the noisecore of early Band Of Susans, the dual vocal/guitar assault of Anders and Snorre heaving back and forth over the spot-on rhythms blasted by Torris' drums and Eystein's jazzed-out bass. The title track simply kills, guttural rumbles and slanted skronk in due time giving way to head-down-horns-up death metal, SSD's vocalists covering both gravelled rattle and near-blackened rasp with equal skill, while Novembre-styled sustained chordings lead off "Der Untergeher". As expected, "Der Untergeher" takes a turn soon enough into furious screams and becomes reminiscent of latter-day Death, albiet briefly, in the skillful yet flammable song arrangement. Torris' skinwork cannot go unmentioned here, his precision and power branding him as the possible offspring of Mastodon's Brann Dailor and Dirk of Soilwork. Fluid guitar meanderings and laid back drumming keep "I Sense A Tempest Arising" at a languid flow, only to be bodyslammed by the ferocity of "Beyond The Borders Of Our Minds". I'll confess to wishing we'd been given a bit more time with "I Sense...", giving SSD a chance to truly stretch their musical muscles, but really, there's no shortage of melody here for those searching. As fierce and disjointed as "Shapeshifter" is, the beginning of "Swallow My Tongue" is sugary sweet, in the foreboding way of candy offered by a stranger. That is, until ash-black yowl and Lord Worm rage hurl themselves into your battered eardrums, digging through with jackhammer rhythms and artful dual axemanship. Delicate fingerpicking of true acoustics is the perfect epilogue to Time Like Vines in the mournful "Morituri Te Salutant".
With Time Like Vines, She Said Destroy has crafted one of the year's most overwhelming debuts. If the band can hang in there for another album or two to cement their place in metal, there's no telling where they could end up.