And Now For Something Completely Different: HR Guy Reviews Death Metal


Okay I know what you're thinking. This is a talent and recruiting blog. What does a death metal review have to do with either of those things? It doesn't. But here's the deal, as someone relatively new to blogging I figure all writing is good writing. However, as you might expect there's a bit more to this story.

Let’s start with the obvious. I’m an HR guy, an HR guy with a diverse love of music, but an HR guy nonetheless. I’m by no means qualified to review music. While my musical tastes vary from Reggae to Punk to Hip Hop to Trance, Metal is not in high rotation in my iPod. Did I jam to Metallica, Angry Samoans, 7 Seconds, Bad Brains and others back in the day when I was glued to my skateboard growing up in Florida? Sure, but it’s been a long time. So, why the hell am I reviewing a death metal CD?

I’m the second Lars at NPR (perhaps no surprise). The other Lars works for NPR Music and is involved in all things music, particularly Metal. Occasionally we get each other’s emails, and in this case mail. I received a demo CD meant for him that I opened before realizing it was his. He gets demos all the time and legitimately reviews them for NPR Music. This mistake led to a thought. Wouldn’t it be entertaining for an HR guy who knows nothing about metal to take a stab at an album review? Here we go.


The original artist name has been changed to protect them from my bad review. Let's go with 'Roar Roar Grrrr Yell Roar.'


Changed again, let's call it 'Metal Death Groar'

Album Cover:

Pretty tame at first glance. There is an image of a gothic looking hallway in black and white with faceless angels/demons leaning over the hall. There is an angel/demon at the end of the hall with its arms outstretched, and a collection of skulls beneath it. Below him/her, is the only bit of color on the album, a tunnel that is glowing red. I’m sure this must be: a) a set from the next Indiana Jones movie b) illumination from Dora the Explorer’s flashlight or c) a gateway to hell. My money is on C. Let’s give a listen.

Track 1:

Solid drum/guitar intro, but where’s the guttural growl? There it is!  The vocals kick in and I spent the first minutes working to decipher a lyric. Hmmm, still nothing. The guitar and drums are kicking ass. I think the lyrics are more of a growl. I’m tempted to growl along but I’m in public and don’t know the proper growl sequence.

Track 2:

It’s title track time! This has to be good. My head is actually bobbing a bit, not quite banging, but definitely some motion. The growls are a bit more melodic here. Not sure if there are words involved but the guitar and drums are still kicking ass. There may have been a chant/prayer/séance in the middle there.  I think I’m going to need some synonyms for growling to review the whole album. Is groaring a word? Can I use that? This track has epic groaring.

Track 3:

The groaring is very solid on this one. Head still bobbing. This guitarist does rock by the way. I’m 80% sure I just heard the singer groar the word ‘best’. I think I’m making progress. Headbangometer is a solid 4 right now.

Track 4:

Nice crunchy guitar solo a minute in. I could be listening to old school Pantera if it wasn’t for the groaring. I’m pretty sure I’m getting some more of the lyrics now.  I think I’m hearing ‘always’ quite a bit. Queue the kick ass guitar solo again, nice work. Headbangometer 5.5.

Track 5:

We’re going to slow it down a bit on this intro. I could see this song in heavy rotation as a battle anthem for Orcs in Middle Earth. Middle breakdown with a jam coming on. Head is definitely bobbing a bit on the back half of the song. I don’t even care about trying to decipher the groaring lyrics any more. The closing of low pitch to high pitch groars is a nice touch. Solid Headbangometer of 7.25.


It's not in iPod playlist territory yet, but this was a decent intro to death metal. I learned about groaring, I was introduced to some head banging, and I learned I have a lot to learn about death metal. Good start though, for an HR guy.