Released: 2000, Independent
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Don’t you wish you could take albums apart, pull out the good stuff, and throw away the rest? Such a “cafeteria” approach to metal listening would certainly come in handy with releases like Ditchwater’s BREAKDOWN, which seem equally composed of viable, interesting and even enjoyable metal, and hideous mallcore. What does one do with this disc? What should a reviewer do? Tank it all for being mallcore, or at least acknowledge the good things that are on it? Such is the dilemma Mr. De Los Muertos finds himself in this evening.
This is my third attempt at writing this review. The first time I excorciated it all as mallcore, and while I wasn’t quite as angry as when I stuck it to Endo last month (the lowest rating ever given a CD on Metal-Rules, if chatter on the message board is to be believed), I was still none too pleased. My second draft attempted to be more positive, pointing out that Ditchwater has at least a handle on some true metallic elements. I really liked the punishing, bottom-heavy guitar and generally death metal feel of the second track, “I.D.G.A.F.” (“I Don’t Give A Fuck”), which is probably the best track on the album. It also amply showcases the vocal talent of frontman Bill Matthrew, which I must say is pretty good. (Unfortunately according to the band’s web site he was recently replaced). He had an excellent voice, occasionally sounding like a metallic Jim Morrison, but still keeping a harsh death metal edge where called for. However, what am I supposed to do with the rest of this? “Fragments” starts out promisingly enough, but degenerates into nothing more than a lame Rage Against the Machine impression with good guitar work. Thus my third draft of the review has me vacillating impotently between scorn and praise. My own natural tendencies to defend the purity of metal have me giving a general thumbs down to this disc, and while I can’t say it’s really that close a call (just listen to the “Yo! Yo! In da house!” quality of “Breakdown”), I do have to give credit where credit is due.
Ultimately it’s unfortunate that metal talent, and the substantial vocal potential and guitar shreddability on this disc, has gone to waste. Ditchwater would have made a half-decent death metal band, I think. As it is, BREAKDOWN is primarily for Rage and Slipknot fans. True metallers, I’m afraid, won’t be interested.