Despite having a great name, I really didn’t think I was going to like Music is the Enemy.

Take any random track from the band’s new CD, Mr. Murdoch … We’re Ready For Our Target Audience, and the first thing that assaults your ears is a wall of death-metal sound. But the more you listen to the music, the more an unexpected melodic element presents itself.

The band builds from a hardcore-punk or thrash-metal groundwork, apparently influenced by punk pioneers like Agnostic Front or Suicidal Tendencies. The songs are characterized by heavy distortion, double-bass drumming and an overall fast-hard-loud aesthetic. This traditional hardcore foundation is interspersed with slower, melodic breakdowns that provide a counterpoint to the more thrashy stuff, keeping the music interesting instead of being a simple all-out attack.

Having attempted to play the drums a couple times myself, I must admit to being impressed by the double-bass drumming. The band doesn’t really break any new ground in this area, but it’s still amazing to me that the anonymous drummer (“all names are omitted to protect the innocent,” they say) can play god knows how many beats per minute and still keep time.

Music is the Enemy is saved from being classified as death metal (or maybe “melodic death metal”) by the fact that you can actually understand what the lead singer/screamer is saying. The lyrics contain too much profanity to be printable in this paper, but for an idea of MITE’s sense of humor, consider the song title “Miles Davis Would Have Hated This S**t.” There’s also one called “She Works Her Body Like Supply And Demand So I Guess That Makes Her An Economist.”

For many listeners, this kind of thing may be a bit much. It’s easy to imagine, too, that many people will be turned off by the death-metal side of the band. But with a little bit of perseverance, its melodic charms shine through. The band members also get points for their worldview, I think.

MITE’s members have set some lofty goals for their band. According to their press release, “The band wages war on music with unrelenting fury … The 10 tracks on Mr. Murdoch… We’re Ready For Our Target Audience explore the myth of music as a saving grace and expose its true nature as an addiction that enslaves and makes us profoundly unhappy.”
It’s hard to judge what they mean by that, so let’s just say it was a joke.