The Auburn System - The Auburn System EP - Five Point Records 2005
5 Songs
Running Time: 10:39

In which a five-piece band with two guitarists and hailing from Massachusetts has their debut produced by Ken Susi of Metal Blade darlings Unearth in their effort to put their version of the metalcore theme on our musical radar.

If I had a dime for every time a band's record company touted them as "something new and invigorating" - or a variation of same - well, I'd have alot of fucking money. If I had a dollar for every time the hype tree bore fruit, though, I'd be on welfare. The Auburn System's been soldiering away in the trenches for awhile, it seems. Two DIY tours booked by the band and around a thousand copies of their two previous demos in circulation is nothing to scoff at; however, it's nothing exclusive to TAS. There are many others in the same situation. This band is from Massachusetts, though, and truth be told, you can't sling a Champion hoodie in that state without hitting someone in a something-core band. Be it grind, punk, or the dreaded emo, hardcore as written by seminal Massachusetts bands like Overcast and Only Living Witness has grown a whole new set of prefixes to attach to the root of "core" of late. While The Auburn System is by no means untalented, the mixture of sub-guttural grind vocals and hard music of the tech-friendly variety demands much of a band. In 'New Old One' the band throws a Swedish metal run into the mix at just under the minute mark, which would be fine were it not so out of place with the rest of what's going on in the song. TAS find their musical footing a bit more secure in the chaotic frenzy of 'James Berardinelli Is The Smartest Band On The Internet', keeping things at either a maddening pace ala early Converge or thugging it up with low-end breakdowns. 'Penny Brown' works fine in the first verse, so long as you only listen to the parts where Nick's singing, because the superquick blasts between vocal lines interfere with the song's enjoyment and don't really add anything. Now, all that being said, this band can utterly kill when it wants to, and if you give them a clear path. 'Better Than God' works on all levels, starting slowly, but showing that the band knows how to create a sense of anticipation. The song begins with one chord, played low and pounded into the ground. After that one chord, there's the obligatory fifteen seconds of blasting, which I'd thought had fucked up another perfectly good hardcore song. It's only after that blasting that I really heard what was happening. From :15 to :45, the pummeling pitcore gets up a head of steam like a locomotive, speeding up with every repeat of the riff before giving way to (again) that Swedish metal sound from the guitarists. The difference here is that on this song, it sounds like it's supposed to be there. I'll come back to this song again for sure. The EP ends with 'Old Man On The Mountain', and again, I find myself unsure of where this band wants to place themselves stylistically.

I'll say this for The Auburn System...they have major balls to attempt what they're trying to pull off here. Myself, I'll give them another year and see what happens with the full length. A band with a pre-planned destination on the musical map, but also a band unsure of which path to take in order to get there.

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