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Born some seven years ago in the city of Trondheim, Norway's Shotgun Rodeo have seemingly taken the wise path of striving to perfect and polish their craft before unleashing their debut full-length offering. Too many new bands are misdirected through their own sense of eagerness and opt to throw out an entire album's worth of material within months of forming. Unfortunately, all too often, particularly within the self-released, DIY market, their efforts are average at best. While Shotgun Rodeo are a new name to me, I gather they've previously released tasters of what they're capable of in the form of two EPs - 2012's 'Dead End Massacre' and 2013's 'Guilty as Charged'. Now, though, it seems they're ready to present a full platter of tunes to the world, with 'World Wide Genocide'.

So, what of these Scandinavian metal merchants? Is 'World Wide Genocide' the polished and finely crafted record you'd expect for a debut seven years into a band's career? Well, for starters, press blurb states: "At times, 'World Wide Genocide' feels like a release that could have been heard on Roadrunner Records during their heyday, but it could equally feel at home with the likes of Nuclear Blast or Spinefarm Records." I sort of know what they're implying through these words, although it's a misplaced and clumsy assertion that frames listening expectations with some kind of pastiched, retro parameters. And that's where Shotgun Rodeo have opted to exercise their metal muscle. This is a predominantly formulaic effort that mixes up down-tuned, groove-infused riffage with a more straightforward, no-nonsense palm-muted, thrashier fretboard attack; a sporadicity of vocal hooks at key moments; fretboard shred; the occasional metalcore-esque breakdown; mixed-tempo rhythms; clean, death and semi-growled vocals... I could go on. Sound familiar? Shotgun Rodeo's stylistic choices certainly do... but, what elevates this above other bands who succumb to mere pastiche and general metal mimicry is some fine musicianship throughout, as well as an infectious energy. And that's precisely what maintains my listening interest in 'World Wide Genocide'. Sure, it's undeniably a case of heard it all before, although it's a fine example of how to pastiche a genre that you're passionate about... and Shotgun Rodeo's passion shines through.

Through all the layers of retro metal mirroring, the album's penultimate track, 'Dying Inside', stands out from the rest of the album, with its heartfelt balladic underpinnings delivered through some very nice vocal melodies indeed, and provides frontman Nino Escopeta with an opportunity to showcase a different side to his voice. And the album's climactic piece, the ten minute long 'Fear & Psychosis' affords the band a little more breathing space to explore and develop their compositional divergences beyond the more formulaic sub-five minute song. Hopefully, these two closing tracks will transpire to be something of a segue into the band's next full-length work, where they can start diversifying beyond the nostalgic pastiche they seem to be bound by at the moment. A solid effort overall, though, and a very well produced one too. Certainly a name to watch in the future.
Review by Mark Holmes
4th Dec 2015
1) Drown
2) The Silver Tongued Devils
3) Saving Myself
4) Knock 'Em Dead
5) Scavenger of Death
6) Withered Earth; 7) Skin Crawl
8) Rust; 9) Up In Smoke
10) Among Wolves
11) Reckless Abandon
12) Dying Inside
13) Fear & Psychosis
"...it's undeniably a case of heard it all before, although it's a fine example of how to pastiche a genre that you're passionate about... and Shotgun Rodeo's passion shines through."