Being a connoisseur of sorts, I sometimes question whether or not the only metric for grabbing my attention and going nuts over a band is requesting that you don’t suck when it comes to the actual thrashing. I could go on an entire rant about how a band’s suckiness is relative to the individual listener, and even the most accomplished albums in the metal pantheon rarely reach that accord by consensus. After all, as metalheads, we do seem to have a contrarian streak on one subject or another. But hey, this is supposed to be an album review, not a philosophy term paper; those days are long behind me.
Assuming you’re reading this article, you may be wondering why I brought this up. Am I passive-aggressively admitting right off the bat that Reducer’s self-titled debut sucks? Absolutely not, as a matter of fact, I find it to be quite an enjoyable listen. As I mentioned when I premiered the track “Shell of Deceit,” there’s a lot of raw sloppiness to be found on this release, and personally, this is where I think the album has the most charm.
Reducer certainly has a get-up and go mentality to it, which is made evident in intro track “The Canadian Wheel.” No buildup, just a click of the drum, and we’re off and running. It’s like the thrash intro version of that guy that gets up forty-five minutes before he’s supposed to go to work and bolts out the door without eating breakfast or showering then just shows up and gets to work. Perhaps that’s the reason why I like this album so much: I see a lot of myself in it.
The only real criticism that I can give the album is there are a few rookie mistakes in the production here and there. The lag between “The Candian Wheel” and “Red Star” almost makes you wonder if the album is broken, and the aforementioned intro almost feels like it’s isolated from the rest of the album. Practicing social distancing, perhaps? Nonetheless, it’s by no means a deal-breaker, and to pull a Bob Ross, it’s more of a happy accident than anything else. Other than that, I will say that the vocals aren’t for everyone, but vocals are usually the deal-breaker when it comes to crossover acts. Still, in my estimation, the vocals are some of the most traditional crossover vocals I’ve heard in some time, at least in the sense that Reducer just says the hell with it and goes for it.
Along with singles “Peace Among Worlds” and “The Clock,” Reducer has a cornucopia of grimy tracks to satisfy the needs of the filthiest of reprobates. “Horizon Drowned In Fire” and “Defiled Trash Can” stand out as two other memorable tracks to be found on this album. I’m still confused as to how exactly you defile a trash can, but band correspondence suggests that it involves a sentient blob of waste conquering the world, and you know what? I’ll accept that.
Is Reducer album of the year caliber? Not quite, but I do think Reducer has the chops to get to that point. Even then, it’s not fair to place that kind of standard on them so quickly. I think it would be more accurate to say that Reducer is definitely an underdog album of the year. If there’s anything to take away from the Detroit trio’s debut is there’s a lot of honesty present. No flip cap and hi-top fashion show posturing, and they’re definitely not hardcore kids stealing thrash riffs at the risk of losing scene points. As with any good crossover album, Reducer is very clear that you can take it or leave it. I don’t know about you, but I’ll gladly take it.
Reducer was released on February 2nd. If you like what you hear, head on over to their Bandcamp page and grab yourself a copy.