Let’s be honest with ourselves. It’s hard to be unique in this metal age. With the ass-load of bands out there you’d have to pull off something pretty big and establish a sound that no one else has. Is it possible? I suppose it is, but there would be someone that would find a band that sounds just like you. If the music is good then it’s not a problem, but if the music is bad then you’re just another band in the cesspool of metal.
With that said, let me introduce Hemoptysis out of Tempe, Arizona. Formed in 2007 by frontman and guitarist Masaki Murashita and drummer Travis Thune, Hemoptysis (the medical term for coughing up blood) mixes a sound of old school thrash and death metal with a modern feel to it. Hemoptysis self produced Ep, Who Needs A Shepherd?, was recorded by Steve Conley from F5.
Hemoptysis’ EP Who needs a Shepherd opens with Shadow of Death, which kind of runs with a Megadeth like sound and a descending/ascending chord progression. Masaki’s almost Jeff Walker sounding vocals bark out what seems to be politically driven lyrics and I can’t help but note that the track title “Shadow Of Death” is similar to Megadeth’s track of the same name but different spelling from The System Has Failed, along with one line “They Can’t Die Dead Enough”, which if you recall “Die Dead Enough” is also a song title from the same album. I’m not saying that they are copying but rather show Megadeth as a great influence. Masaki stated Megadeth as one of their many influences, so it’s not too surprising. The song closes with a few great solo’s alternating between Masaki and former lead guitarist Brian Bieganski.
Who Needs A Shepherd?, the second track on the EP also opens with a Megadeth-esque sound but then rolls in to an early Metallica sounding riff and slightly exploding solo before the vocals kick in. The title of the song can pretty much tell you that it’s and anti-religious song, talking of some of the hypocritical thinking that sometimes goes on with Christianity.
Throughout the rest of the album you hear a lot of Megadeth influence in the guitar work and song structure and maybe that’s what I really dig about it. I wouldn’t call them a Megadeth clone as a lot of people call Trivium, Metallica clones, but you can definitely hear it in there, which isn’t a bad thing. What I dig about Who Needs A Shepard? is the traditional metal sound that’s not over the top and redundant. The band is currently rounded out with guitarist Jack Fliegler and bass player Sunao Arai.
The rhythms and solos throughout the album are tight and for being a self produce EP, it sounds really good and everything is mixed well. Hemoptysis is currently writing new material for a full length album and will be opening for Warbringer on June 6th at UB’s in Mesa, Arizona. I’m looking forward to hear what else the band has to offer. Here is a live video of the band performing at UB’s on February 26th, 2009.