Downstares - Cobras and Matadors
Record Label: None
Release Date: September 2, 2008
From time to time alternative bands find new genres to fuse with their sound. Through this diversification, we've seen many styles like nu metal emerge. Now, alternative's wonderchild has gone on to include it's own sub genres, with bands trying to diversify even this newer genre. Downstares is one of these bands. These DIY guys have been releasing albums and touring on their own since 2000. They may not get as much attention as some of their contemporaries, but it's definitely not because they don't work as hard.
Cobras And Matadors is the fifth studio album from the band. With interesting artwork created by Sons Of Nero (In Flames, 36 Crazyfists), this album hits with a furious punch. Combining elements of nu metal, alternative, and even sprinkles of metalcore, it makes a definite impact. Each of the tracks kind of follows the same basic plan. They fully utilize Simeon Hendrix's melodic vocals, as well as employing sparse but powerful screaming. The guitar playing ranges from melodic to heavy, and the drumming is a constant staple in the tracks. The production is also surprisingly good for an unsigned release.
The first thing I noticed about Cobras and Matadors was that there seems to be an inconsistency in the quality from track to track. Some of their songs are powerful, while others just somehow fail to impress. The most notable instance of this is the single "Speed Dial," which unfortunately falters and takes it's place as one of the less interesting tracks. However, there are more than enough good tracks to take over for it (and the couple of other uninteresting songs). The album opener "264 Roselawn" and "An Ambulance Called Emergency" are two of the tracks that remain as standouts after multiple listens.
While this release may not garner much mainstream attention, that doesn't mean it shouldn't. It's become obvious that the amount of work you put into your music and getting it out there doesn't exactly have a positive correlation with how you're received. If this was the case, Downstares would definitely be one of the most talked about bands in the scene. I'm not lying when I say that their brand of alternative, nu metal, metalcore, or whatever you choose to call it has its own special flair. They may not have the extreme accessibility like many mainstream bands, and they may not have as complete or cohesive of a sound, but if there's anyone I've ever seen deserve recognition, it's Downstares. All I ask is that you give Cobras and Matadors a chance. It won't be for everyone, but if any readers appreciate it, then I've done my job.