The Famine’s latest release finds them adding a “The” to their band name and getting a new vocalist, Nick Nowell, who was formerly their bassist. While I can’t say whether Nowell’s switch to vocals was also the catalyst to a style change, The Famine finds themselves faster, more technical, and more brutal than on their debut, The Raven and the Reaping. And that’s really saying a lot because it was a pretty intense release. From the first listen it’s hard not to compare The Famine’s new sound to Misery Index. The precision of the guitar work, the range of Nowell’s vocals (a contrasting higher scream and a lower growl), and the speed of the band shows a lot of similarities. However, that doesn’t mean that The Famine is totally ripping off Misery Index. They can certainly hold their own. Not to mention, the cover art is amazing. However, now I move on to my complaints. There is no bass on here. Maybe it’s there, but it didn’t stick out in any noticeable way. An addition of some bass in a noticeable way would help the band add more depth and a well-rounded palate. When I listened closely, I felt like I was getting a weak version of Pig Destroyer. With the direction they’re trying to go, it would be nice to hear The Famine pummel the listener, and that would require a full-on bass assault on occasion. And after a few listens it became apparent that despite their skills and intensity, The Famine still seem to lack that final knockout blow—that final bit in their bag of tricks that can deliver. I can tell they’re close but in a field of so many death and grind bands, it would be nice to hear something that really set them apart. Finally, the last song, “To the Teeth,” starts with this guitar riff that sounds similar to the beginning of Metallica’s “Sad But True.” I was really hoping it would turn into The Famine doing a cover of that song, but, unfortunately, it did not.
–kurt (Solid State)