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God Is I

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Album Review

Funny band, Merauder; they're a hybrid proposition meshing NYHC roots, values, and sonic details with fundamental death metal hallmarks, that, ironically, have succeeded mostly in earning only scorn from both fan factions over the course of a fractious decade-plus career, peppered with a mere handful of albums, and no end to interpersonal strife. In fact, the band had been put indefinitely on ice after 2003's poorly received Bluetality LP, but when long-serving guitarist Javier "SOB" Capio passed away in 2006, the motivational seeds were sown for the assemblage of a new lineup by frontman Jorge Rosado, and, eventually the recording of Merauder's fourth album, God Is I. Released in 2009 by new label Regain Records, the disc also marks a turning point in the band's sound, it should be noted; solidifying their credentials as a death metal band proper, whose songs and riffs just so happen to reflect some of the uncluttered straightforwardness and breakdowns typical of hardcore. Highlights include the notably deliberate "Ratcatcher" (reminiscent of Bolt Thrower, with its winding melodies underpinned by mechanical double kick-drums), "Forgotten Children" (harking to Pantera's massive grooves and featuring Diamond Darrell-esque guitar pull-offs), and simply pummeling deathsters like the title track and Spanish-named "Ahora." And even if some songs like "Built on Blood," "Gangsta," and "Hell Captive" relapse to the days when Merauder were, at best, a second rate version of Biohazard or Sick of It All, there's certainly no lack of deathly, Cookie Monster "thickness" in Rosado's guttural growl, or his fellow bandmates sludge-drenched guitar work. At the end of the day, one feels that this minor but unmistakable stylistic shift goes a long way to validating Merauder's return — not to mention their disciplined avoidance of the then popular deathcore style — and it serves as a fitting tribute to their recently fallen comrade, to boot.


Formed: New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Having emerged in the New York hardcore scene amongst the swarm metal crossover bands that swarmed the East Coast during the late '80s and early '90s (i.e. Sick of it All, Cro-Mags, etc.), Merauder soon became apart of this scene upon their formation in 1990. With five years of giggling, a couple of demos and the recruitment of vocalist Jorge -- formerly of Full Contact -- 1995 marked the year that Merauder finally earned some recognition thanks in part to a split EP with Stigmata, a tour with Biohazard...
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God Is I, Merauder
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