Beasts Among Sheep
Translation Loss Records
There’s a classic Heavy Metal paradox — many bands have cool graphics yet their music sounds like a dozen other bands even as they bang their heads. The album cover sports a zombie bishop with an inverted cross on his miter and a sunburst behind his head. Fold out the album and there he is again, now with a herd of Sunday school pretty sheep running away. It’s worth framing, if you’re into that. Too bad the music is less than exciting. The vocals are the same ripped-sounding singing that all metal bands use, the guitar work is competent but yawn-inducing, the drumming occasionally takes a twist or two, and the mix is compressed to the point that it has less dynamic range than most AM stations. There are printed lyrics for your reading convenience, and they’re in some weird font printed in low contrast red on black. Reading them is more interesting than hearing them, as there is a bit of poetry in them. I’ll quote a few lines from “Arcadia”: Human Flesh / One King’s Wish / Sadistic criminals / Carcass Confessional / Sacrificed in vein / Slash Rip Tear and Rape. Perhaps the improper use of “vein” is intentional, and perhaps it’s a nit, but it did stand out in my rusted metal mind. Javelina is a competent metal band, and its graphics and lyrics are better than most, but beyond that there’s not that much to recommend here.