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October 6, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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El Schlong – The Baddies Are Coming

When El Schlong burst on to the Dunedin metal scene earlier this decade, they were essentially a System of a Down imitation, with bouncy guitar solos and clear, maniacal vocals about tripping and torture. By the time they put out EP loudious deepthroatus in 2005, singer Jake had gone for more of a cookie monster growl, but the songs were still snappy and accessible. Having shifted to Wellington and dropped their vocalist, El Schlong have finally put out an LP, The Baddies Are Coming. With their third and best drummer Jordan throwing his jazz school know-how into the mix, El Schlong have gone from being a System covers act to the bastard offspring of Opeth and carnival clown music.

Several fellow El Schlong fans have described their music as epic, and I think the description fits. The title track on The Baddies Are Coming opens proceedings with a frightening crowd chant and military drumbeat, descending into guitarist (and main creative force) Leah Hinton’s signature bopping lead breaks. The sheer size and complexity of the music makes the album something to sit up and take notice of, however their lack of a vocalist is a problem – whereas with Jake the band made an immediate cackling impact, they’re now a dense and difficult listen. Sure, it’s rewarding, but with a singer taking charge El Schlong would be the most magnificent force in Kiwi metal.

Perhaps the weirdest and most striking track is ‘Arthur R Nevilleson-Robertson-Brown’, where Mr Nevilleson- Robertson-Brown’s droll narration recounts the loss of his slippers. As a novelty the completely tuneless voice makes for a cool storyteller, but since this is the only vocal technique the band use, it wears thin.

Other than my quibble over the vocals, The Baddies Are Coming is bloody impressive. The scope and oozing stench of the music is like an oily insect raping my brain. The band once said they’re “like Satan in the bathtub, puzzled by the ginger pube on the soap.” Too true.

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Tristan Egarr edited in 2008. He threw a chair once.

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