SQUEALER, End of the World  (2013, self-released)

The skull:
End of the World? More like End of Album Cover Ideas. I know, that’s not even funny, but if they’re not gonna try, why should I? This guy looks tired, or in some form of despair, and perhaps it’s because he’s just endured a trip to the optometrist, one that ended in pupil dilation, which explains the sunglasses. But then it’s all a fraud, because skulls don’t have eyeballs. Squealer just doesn’t get it, man.

The music:
Did you know there have been six metal bands to have recorded under the name Squealer? Three have been German, and the most successful of the lot is this one — and they’re still pretty weak. No doubt, they’re capable, maybe even decent at times, but they’re still no more than standard-issue German melodic speed/power metal, right off the factory assembly line. Or at least, that’s how they started out. No matter their direction, most of these tunes are about as faceless as it gets. When they’re in power metal mode, it’s somewhere between Not Fragile, Scanner and the weakest Iron Savior tunes — at the best of times. Squealer didn’t remain static in their evolution, which you have to give them credit for, but then their new frontiers weren’t all that impressive either. When they tried to change their sound, as heard on “Fade Away,” they’re a sorry excuse for modern gothic-tinged metal, like latter-day Sentenced covering Sisters of Mercy. Seems Squealer has flirted with a Moonspell-ish gothic direction more than once, too, as also heard in “To Die For (…Your Sins).” Boredom eternal. It’s difficult to determine why this self-released compilation exists, and why the Japanese wanted a piece of it. But here it is, in case you feel like you missed the train on the mighty Squealer or something. Might as well pre-order that 6xLP Chinchilla box set while you’re at it.
— Friar Wagner

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