Album review

The Banner : Your Murder Mixtape
Brightside Records / Blackout! Records

The Banner : Your Murder MixtapeThere must be something in the water in Hoboken, New Jersey. Listening to the latest offering from The Banner leads you to suspect that it might just be blood. The album's opener Zombie Onslaught sets the scene, starting as it does with a sample of a news report telling of cannibalistic murders. Death, destruction, murder, terror, zombies - these are the subjects dealt with by The Banner and their songs. At least, that is what they would have us believe. I'm not entirely convinced . . .

Though Zombie Onslaught and Apocolypse are largely self-explanatory and in keeping with the themes above, to explain the main theme of the rest of this album requires me to use a particularly offensive four-letter word that you're simply not supposed to use when referring to extreme metalcore: Love. Yep, this album - despite the deceptive title of Your Murder Mixtape - is essentially a love album. Sure, it may be the kind of love that invariably ends in violence or murder, but it's love nonetheless.
    Take I Found Your Diary for example, the tale of a lover spurned: "I've read your stories sweetheart and I fear there's one chapter left, I know the ending baby, I've wrote it down inside my head, and red's the ink shade darling, and when I've said forever, I've never been so wrong." Bless. Or Black Duct Tape, seemingly about another spurning at the hands of a cruel female: "I took that bitch down to the river, made princess a castle in the mud, you'll find six sharp knives in the water, and black duct tape soaked in her blood." If only Trisha had been around.
    Another theme running through some of the album's other tracks - Skies Go Black, Die Fighting, Night Of The Rope - is that of oppression, and being crushed by it or fighting back against it.

Whatever the subject, pretty much every track on Your Murder Mixtape is really well put together, and the album as a whole works really well. A fantastic blend of guitars, drums and the odd well-placed sample accompanies the furiously vivid lyrics - brilliantly delivered by lead vocalist Joey Southside - and the whole affair is made all the more listenable by superb production.
    Though first impressions might (wrongly) lead to the dismissal of The Banner as a gimmicky metal outfit with nothing of any real substance to offer, Your Murder Mixtape is a genuinely good album, and well worth a listen. Fucking great . . .

:: Philip Goodfellow

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