Released: 2010, Authentik Ink
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
PROTECTOR, the debut EP from Arizona’s The Rendering is a classic example of the old adage, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” If I’d seen the band’s webpage before giving the album a proper listen, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought and said “pass.” Yeah, this is comb over and ear spools territory, and while those kinds of questionable fashion trends have been associated with some seriously craptastic music, PROTECTOR has some pretty serious chops.
The Rendering are part of metal’s new school, where genre definitions are harder to pin down, but the music is unquestionably heavy. And while many of the band’s peer groups get mired in downtuned chugga, chugga monotony, The Rendering offer some welcomed thought and focus into its music that’s a little more exploratory and a lot more convincing. PROTECTOR comes out swinging with the one-two punch of “Thanks a Mil” and “Taken,” letting you know off the bat that these guys mean business. Thick as a cinderblock, the wall of guitars and Erik Van Acker’s all over the map vocals throw down the gauntlet. The tunes also introduce the band’s use of discordant arrangements and sci-fi atmospherics, which follow the band throughout the seven tracks. Some of the breakdown moments in “The Gift” or “Come Home” left me a feeling a little ‘meh,’ but there’s enough good here to forgive moments like these. The title track is the best of the batch, allowing itself to get a little spaced out and uncomfortable, and makes for a great album closer.
PROTECTOR is best experienced as a whole from start to finish. Individually the songs are good, but taken as a complete listening experience, they’re even better. Granted the short lifespan of The Rendering so far (formed in late 2009), the quality of their first professional release is definitely worth acknowledging. The production work is solid, and while the individual performances aren’t necessarily anything to write home about, the collective endgame here is tight and succinct. Though this kind of metal may not be everyone’s cup of tea, if you’re willing to open your mind and give it a shot, you might just find yourself liking it. I know I did.