Blood Scent

by: Stemm

Buffalo, NY-based heavy metal quartet STEMM presents a generic representation of contemporary metal on its self-released album Blood Scent. Dan Nelligan's drumming shows a fondness for pummeling double-bass drums; Steve Crowl's bass throbs along; guitarist Alex Scouten strums typical metal riffs; and singer Joe "Jodah" Cafarella alternately howls and sings lyrics in a gruff voice with the usual imagery -- fire, blood, weaponry -- in the usual mood: rage. "As Real as It Gets" threads in President George W. Bush's remarks at Ground Zero ("I can hear you"), which suggests that the song is about a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, though the lyrics aren't that specific. A cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Wish" succeeds in demonstrating that Trent Reznor is a better songwriter than the members of STEMM, and prefaces the obligatory power ballad "Beneath My Skin" (which is repeated in an acoustic version as a hidden track after the closer, "Casualty for Prayer"). That's about as far as the band is willing to stray from the heavy metal formula, which means it may appeal to a core audience, especially fans recruited by concert appearances, but not beyond that. ~ William Ruhlmann

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