Predictable with a Few Shining Moments
Feeling like a mishmash of Pantera and later-era Corrosion of Conformity, Pillbuster don’t exactly bring anything new to the table; save for consisting of members from different regions of the United States. The band, originating in Virginia Beach, hope to make a splash with their self-titled debut, with what they label on their Facebook page as a “simple, yet complex, sound.” But with a musical aesthetic that’s been done to death, is that really possible?
Truth be told, Pillbuster lack any sort of complexity and seem to write music with accessibility in mind. Their songs, while occasionally enjoying a catchy groove, are written with a cliché rulebook clutched tightly in hand—in other words, their songwriting is driven by an established formula, rather than by musical exploration. Utilizing heavily chugged guitar riffs and Anselmo-esque vocals, the band fall deeper into the realms of unoriginality, and that sadly enough proves to be a travesty for their first foray into the music world. See “Beast” as an example.
The debut does, however, benefit from bluesy leads and rhythmic instrumentation. “Revery,” for instance, has a moving midsection that’s as bouncy as it is groovy, verifying that Pillbuster have room to breathe as soon as the vocals drop out. “Coincide” takes the cake as the album’s best number, thanks to restrained crooning and infectious melody largely absent from the rest of the record. There’s no denying that Pillbuster have potential, but listeners are left to wonder why their chops found refuge elsewhere.
But despite those promising moments, the self-titled record still doesn’t live up to the hype. The majority of the album is plagued with predictable songwriting—not to mention an unwillingness to experiment—and Pillbuster’s debut ends up sounding extremely similar by the time the tenth song rolls around on the track listing. On the other hand, this is a fledging release obviously learned well from various influences. Whether that’s appealing or not is for you to decide.