|By Kevin Hagge||Tuesday, 24 Jun 2008|
Normally, Music of the Week is a column devoted to spotlighting great music my fellow writers are listening to. However, this week, I’m making an exception. Being an obsessive fan of the video game music scene for the past eight years, I make it a point to check out pretty much every cover band that I hear about. I first heard of the band This Place Is Haunted a couple of years ago, and I have to admit, after listening to some demo tracks on their Myspace, I was not impressed. However, I try my best to have a bit of
faith in a band that is just starting out. So when they put out their debut release “Everything You Know Is Wrong”, I made sure to pick up a copy at MAGFest 5. After all, I had heard nothing but praise from the few people I had talked to regarding this band, and the tracklist was quite impressive. I was excited the first time I sat down to listen to what I was hoping would be a great album, but it didn’t take long for that excitement to turn into complete disappointment. And after several listens, it was confirmed that everything I knew was true…this band is horrible! The album was plagued with poor production, sloppy playing, and uninteresting arrangements. Despite having a very promising tracklist, ultimately “Everything You Know Is Wrong” was a complete let down. Even after all this time, I still cannot find any redeeming qualities about this release. So when This Place Is Haunted announced late last year that they were releasing a new EP entitled “This Game Is Fucking Bullshit”, my first thought was that the title should probably be “This Band Is Fucking Bullshit”. But I have seen many times in the past that bands and artists can improve in relatively short amounts of time, and as details about this release began to emerge, I decided to give them a second chance. With another interesting tracklist and Dino (of Chromelodeon/Sprite Slowdown fame) playing synth on some of the tracks, it seemed impossible that this CD could be anywhere near as poor as their initial release. I should’ve figured out by now that if anyone can let you down and ruin great source material, it is This Place Is Haunted. What is most disappointing is that many of the same problems from the debut album are still present on “This Game Is Fucking Bullshit”. The production is still poor, the playing is still sloppy, and the arrangements are still boring. If you actually own this CD and you do not know what I’m talking about, here is an example – put on Castlevania 2, fast forward to around 41 seconds, and listen to all hell break loose as this band butchers the Town theme from Simon’s Quest. It doesn’t even sound like they practiced before they went into the studio to record this abomination. In a time where artists can create very high quality recordings in their bedrooms using even the most primitive of recording setups, it is not at all acceptable for a band to release and charge money for something that sounds this bad. Even still, I decided to give This Place Is Haunted one more chance at the most recent MAGFest, and I watched them perform live. I’d heard people say “Man, even if you don’t like their studio stuff, holy shit, they’re so good live!” Well, those people are fucking liars. I’m not going to say that there weren’t a couple of decent moments during their set, and I even found myself in the mosh pit a couple of times, but overall, I mostly found myself TRYING to enjoy them, because they really weren’t doing a good job of entertaining me. Their playing was so inconsistent; at times they sounded tight, like they actually had their shit together, but for the most part, their performance was just as sloppy and boring as both of their albums. Judging from their small crowd (the smallest crowd out of any of the bands that played at Magfest 6), it seems others felt the same way. After a few songs, I finally gave up and left the concert room. Honestly, despite their attempts defend themselves, their music speaks for itself. My first hunch was right, “this band is fucking bullshit”.