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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Review: Expedition – A Good Day to Die

Label: Self released

Date: March 5th, 2022

It’s time for me to take on a newcomer. Take them on, rip them to shreds and discourage them from ever thinking about jumping into this music thing. Okay, I won’t, but criticism they will receive whether they like it or not. As well as credits where credits are due. Buckle up boys, because this will be a bumpy ride.

First of all, Expedition is formed by four rather young Irish guys, judging from the band photos. The band itself was formed just a couple of years ago and I’ve got to give them credit right at the start. They did not publish an album instantly. Apparently, they’ve given themselves the time for these six tracks to brew and come together. Then again, it would seem as if they needed a bit more thought.

“A Good Day to Die” is basically a demo. It sounds like it (with the 21st century technology addition) and, more importantly, feels like it. Unpolished is the word I’m looking for. And not in the sense that it needs a better production work, though it could use a bit more in that department. Not even in the creative part. Expedition is inspired by, and sounds like, any old school underground thrash metal band from the Bay Area, with a subtle nod to the UK scene of yore.

Where this EP lacks the most is the part where the quartet is clearly inexperienced. Expedition needs a more studious approach to the genre and its creative knick-knacks. Dynamics, first and foremost, because the whole thing feels flat throughout. The one moment where it jumps out at a listener could be the chorus for the opener, “Divide & Conquer”. The band needs to emphasize these parts. Choruses, for one, but also the guitar solos and especially the rhythm section. Drums in particular yearn for a bigger role. More massive and accentuated drum rolls, for instance, would make the blood boil.

Furthermore, these six tracks stretch out to thirty three minutes. Expedition doesn’t yet possess the skill to make such long songs work in their favor. Again the lacking experience. Take the closing one, “Deathwish”, as an example. Under five minutes and, though still suffering from all of the above mentioned flaws, it sticks to the point and thus exudes more strength. Even if not counting the fact that it is the most straight-forward and aggressive one of the pack.

Now, I’ve promised credits where credits are due. The vocals are really neat. Likely the one piece of Expedition’s puzzle that doesn’t need all that much work. There’s room to improve, of course, but Mr. Caoimhghin Boyle brings these words to life nicely. Perhaps a bit of a better arrangement next time would be my advice, but overall I have no major objections to his performance. Also, the mentioned “Divide & Conquer”, as well as its follow-up, the title track, have what it takes to grab the listener by surprise. It would probably be a nice idea to record them both again on some next release, but keep them to a point, concise and arranged so that they don’t lose the energy upheld. Especially the title track which is almost seven minutes long, with the mellow middle section. It worked for Metallica in “Master of Puppets”, but you are not Metallica. The song needs more work to punch as it can.

Also, the cover artwork is really good. But it also says nothing of the thrash metal Expedition performs. I half expected some atmospheric, new age black metal to jump out of the speakers. Or maybe even some ambient, neo classical work. And while I’m at the subject of the cover… If you’re not poised on releasing “A Good Day to Die” on tape exclusively, you will need a square one. This one does stretch relatively good, but still…

I’m at an end now. Feel discouraged yet? You shouldn’t be. My conclusion that “A Good Day to Die” is not a good attempt should be an encouragement to try again. There’s potential within you that can easily be tapped into. Especially by a bunch of young lads. You had the guts to try. Now have the guts to try again. And don’t forget to send over the next material. I will be more than happy to write rubbish about that one, too. Just kidding. Support to the generation that will keep the flame burning!