MEMORAIN, Evolution (2012, Maple Metal)
Ah, this old chestnut, the crusty, shooped skull wreathed in flames. Add some snakes and you’ve got a Kataklysm cover. Add some tentacles and you’ve got a Feast for Crows cover. Add, well, a little more fire, and you’ve got a Dismember cover. Enough is enough, people! Try wreathing your skulls in something novel. Marshmallows, maybe, or Hot Wheels, or kittens. Memorain could have just piled up copies of On the Origin of Species under their skull, and they’d have had a thematically relevant BDS. Think outside the firebox, is what I’m suggesting to all you aspiring BDSers.
Memorain are one of those Greek bands with mysterious cash reserves, enough to hire, say, Gene Hoglan, Steve Di’Giorgio, and Ralph Santolla (that is: three quarters of the Individual Thought Patterns touring lineup) to play on their middling power metal album. The album before this featured Nick Menza on drums, and for some reason, on Evolution, they let Dave Ellefson write a song, and even worse, let Tim Owens sing it. It’s not that Memorain are bad (for the most part), but they are kind of dull, and for as much as they must have spent for the rhythm section, you’d think they’d have put a little more cash into the mixing, because this is not an especially good sounding album. DiGiorgio, in particular, is hard to hear, which is too bad because it sounds like he’s really going nuts on some of these tracks. Hoglan, though, delivers one of his most mercenary, uninspired performances. He’s perfectly in time, but creatively checked out. As for Santolla, well, who cares? That guy is never especially interesting, right? The whole affair is thoroughly basted in tough-guy posturing, and despite not sounding like any one band (that you could name – bands like this always sound like other unknown bands, probably in a case of convergent evolution), they manage to still come off as totally generic: power metal for Pantera lovers, or something. At times they sound depressingly like modern Overkill (but not Ironbound), and while I do harbor a deep and admittedly irrational love for those Jersey boys, that love absolutely does not extend to other groups peddling lame modern groove thrash. Memorain aren’t even close to a terrible band, and by the standards of the average Big Dumb Skull entrant, they rate in the top ten percent, easy, but that doesn’t make listening to their album all that much more enjoyable, only less painful.
— Friar Johnsen