The history of Supergroups has been an odd and not always successful one. For every Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young there has been at least one McBusted. These secondary musical outlets are regularly used as vents for the more esoteric and personal outpourings of already successful players; granting them an explorative freedom otherwise lacking from their chart bothering day jobs.
So it was with much trepidation that I listened to All You Want To, the debut album from Escape the Cult, which features Primus drummer Tim Alexander, Kamlath bassist Peter Shallmin, King Diamond and ex-Mercyful Fate guitarist Mike Wead and current Uneven Structure vocalist Matthieu Romarin. A more varied collection of musicians one would hard pushed to invisage.
Indeed the breadth of musical experience within the group seems to have confused the focus of their intent somewhat. That while the music is well executed, the songs themselves meander like a snake without a Sat-Nav, slinking in direction after direction without emotionally settling on an ultimate location.
Should I to try to pigeon-hole this record into a bespoke genre, the one most suitable would have to be, the freshly minted; Progressive Grunge. Indeed Matthieu Romarin’s vocal intonation disconcertingly vacillates between Creeds Scott Stapp and Lane Staley, on the days Jerry Cantrell had hidden the heroin. It isn’t that his vocals are not well performed, they are, its just that his spectral pervasive insistence which fills each Uneven Structure song with hypnotic penetration is reduced to a faint and confusing silhouette.
The music too is infested with a perplexing sense of diluted mid 90’s nostalgia, albeit with a syncopated edge. The songs for the most part, appear to exist without core melodies or the enlivening vigour of an impassioned riff. Solos come and solos go; some are interesting to listen to and others might make you stroke your beard; but they approach out of an encyclical haze of Herb’s drumming; granting them the same emotional impact that one feels walking past a busker on the street- while entrenched in conversation.
This is not terrible music and I am sure that it will find some ears appreciative of its specific charm; But for me it seems to have been constructed on a web of whims. Not fatuous, aggrandised notions of entitlement but the simple, unchecked idea that it would be a cool scheme for this posse to stir their skills together. Driven by the belief that their separate and undeniable qualities would naturally coalesce into stirring, impactful, and above all modern, music.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that All You Want To is seriously lacking in both heart and relevance. With band members separated by continental plates and the recording time stretched out to a near epochal 3 years, it is small wonder why the results are more than a little anaemic.
– John Whitmore