Figure Of Merit

Shaping The Antistrain

Figure Of Merit - Shaping The Antistrain ©2001 Blue Worm Records
1. Thought Harvest
2. King & Carimona
3. Catalyst
4. Henrydavidthoreau
5. Amino
6. Point Of Inflection
7. The Assembly
8. Unearthing

One of the most frustrating things ever is listening to a band that obviously has potential, but has yet to fully tap into it. Figure of Meritis such a band.

Sure, all of the elements are in place here. Complex song structures, riffing that alternates between Melvins/Sabbath sludge, Jesus Lizard-esque dissonance, repetetive chugging that sometimes reminds me of the late, great Helmet, and vocals that alternate between gruff shouting and clean singing. Some of you may remember a band from Cleveland called Craw? Well, I'm not exactly sure why, but this reminds me a lot of those guys as well.

But there is something missing. Something that would give them that extra spark to push their music beyond the mediocrity presented here and make them something truly exciting. I can't put my finger on it, but I have a feeling Figure of Merit will only get better from here.

Review by Mark Pennington

Review date: 11/2001

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Figure Of Merit - Vatic ©2003 Blue Worm Records
1. Aorta
2. Parts Broken And Juxtaposed
3. Arrow To The Sun
4. Blackhammer
5. This Will Not Save You Anymore
6. Overhead Projector
7. Vatic
8. Grace At Arms Length

As evidenced by the terribly-written review above, I wasnít too into Figure Of Meritís debut album. There were definitely a few moments of greatness, but unfortunately they were sandwiched between a lot of artsy indie-math-rock stuff that I just couldn't get into at all. However, Iím happy to announce that the bandís sophomore effort (I really hate that term) is vastly superior to their debut album in almost every possible way! This time around, theyíve opted for a much more straight-forward metallic hardcore sound, which could probably be compared to a mix of Neurosis and Deadguy, with a little of that late 90s Hydrahead sound (Botch, Knut, et al) thrown in for good measure. However, unlike many bands nowadays that play this type of hardcore, Figure Of Merit donít opt for the overly technical and complex approach. Instead, they concentrate more on thick, sludgey repetetive riffing and dissonant chord progressions. The songs are, for the most part, composed incredibly well, and do an excellent job of conveying the bleak atmosphere that I think they were striving for.

Just about the only complaint I can muster is that Figure Of Merit have yet to actually rise above their influences and establish themselves as a truly creative and original force (The song ďOverhead ProjectorĒ in particular is almost total Word As Law/Souls At Zero-era Neurosis worship). However, a little derivativeness never hurt anyone, and this is still one hell of an impressive record that Iíd recommend to anyone that is interested in metallic hardcore. I canít wait to hear more from this band!

Review by Mark Pennington

Review date: 02/2004

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