The Quill

Hooray! It's a Death Trip

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When you think about it, the Quill is a somewhat ironic name for this Swedish stoner rock/alternative metal band. A quill is something that a porcupine uses to prick its victim. But the Quill isn't among the more confrontational bands in post-'80s metal; while many of the death metal/black metal, grindcore, rap-metal, and metalcore bands that emerged in the '90s or early 2000s are downright ferocious, the Quill is decidedly melodic -- loud, forceful, and aggressive, certainly, but not hammer-to-the-skull ferocious and not brutal for the sake of brutality. In fact, the Swedes' fourth full-length album, Hooray! It's a Death Trip, is among the more musical alt-metal discs of 2003. Melody isn't a mere afterthought on this CD; it's an integral part of what the Quill does, and the Scandinavian headbangers provide an album that is very song-oriented as opposed to simply riff-oriented. That isn't to say riffs are unimportant to them, only that they put just as much thought into their melodies. Their riffs and melodies both owe a huge debt to the metal and psychedelic hard rock of late '60s and '70s; instead of offering the sort of chug-chug riffs that are a big part of alternative metal, the Quill gets a lot of inspiration from Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Mountain, Jimi Hendrix, Blue Cheer, and Deep Purple. But at the same time, Hooray! It's a Death Trip isn't an exact replica of albums from the Richard Nixon years; the Quill has enough Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Kyuss, and grunge influence to be relevant to the modern alt-metal scene. The Quill is hardly the most original band in the world, but in terms of craftsmanship, the Swedes deliver the goods on this solid and worthwhile, if derivative, outing.

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