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Released: 2000, Independant
Semper Fi are a totally new band to me. They hail from the north western part of Norway, the town of Kristiansund to be exact. Hold up, they don't have white-painted faces and they don't play black metal! The band began as something different and with a different name. At first they played a cross of punk, metal and hardcore. However, they saw the err of their ways and as they learned how to better songwrite and play their instruments, the direction of their music took on a metal and more melodic edge. The result is a CD of near Gothenburg sound a la In Flames mixed with a tinge of hardcore (not enough to turn me off) and in places a Sabbath-like groove. The vocals are basically abrasive without becoming brutal death metal. They are from the lower register and not of the screaming variety. In places the vocals are sung melodically but it's not used very often. The overall song tempo is mid-paced but some songs are faster. One of the things I like best about this band is the guitar rhythms and the guitar sound. It has that buzz saw, yet chunky, quality.
The CD's opening two tracks, "Sense of Justice" and "Center of Believes" really grabbed my attention upon first listen. These songs were melodic yet still heavy. The CD's third song, "Strike" was not as memorable or as interesting due to less melody, less catchy riffing and more of a hardcore edge. "Crush" has a very cool main riff that sounds like a mixture of the Sabbath vibe mixed with the Gothenburg sound - simple yet very effective making it one of the CD's finer moments. The albums closing, and title track "Strong Weakness" has some cool moments although it's a bit repetitive near the end. One thing missing from this CD is lead guitar. There are a couple of solos but they do not rip, shred or stand out as being an important ingredient in the band. Hopefully this is something they will further develop and integrate into their sound.
Semper Fi are definitely on the right path with their debut CD. As long as they can steer clear of the trends and further develop the melody aspect of their music while still keeping the aggression. I have to mention the album's inner artwork which looks like it was done by a kid with pencil crayons! I dunno if it was meant as a joke or not but I sure got a laugh out of it!
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