Red Gem of Hades - _Aggressive Dissension_
(Vraa Music, 2008)
by: Quentin Kalis (5 out of 10)
The further the departure from the rudimentary black metal, funeral doom or grindcore, the harder it becomes for one man groups to compete effectively against full bands, as very few musicians have complete mastery of all instruments. Red Gem of Hades is a case in point. They are technically a duo, but with Kyle Vraa doing everything except vocals -- and even that he does on two songs -- this is really a one-man band plus a session singer. Vraa is competent on lead guitars and this is where he exerts the most effort, but by comparison the rhythms border on the derivative and it is painfully obvious that the drumming is programmed. The session vocalist provides reasonable death grunts, which make Vraa's thrashy shrieks seem amateurish by comparison. The production is a bit rough -- not horrid, but Vraa's leads would obviously benefit from a stronger production. Barring a select few operating within a very narrow spectrum, one-man bands are not ideal and it does not seem unlikely that Vraa could not find musicians in his hometown of Minneapolis.


(article published 15/3/2009)

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