I've seen the name Merauder in my many years as a metal fan,
and I remember some hype surrounding their debut album, Master
Killer (1996). But now, over a decade later, God
Is I sets the new standard for hardcore-metal, past and
Imagine if fellow Brooklyn band Biohazard had retained the
style from their landmark album, Urban Discipline,
and evolved with that sound album after album—God
Is I is what I imagine Biohazard sounding like today.
Merauder at its core is a hardcore band. But with death metal
growls, ripping guitar solos and heavy, in-your-face, Pantera-sized
riffs, this is about as close to metal as hardcore can be.
From the monster, chugging riff and lyrics of “Crush
your enemies!” on the opening track, “Until,”
it's evident this is a different breed of hardcore.
Vocalist Jorge Rosado alternates between a death metal and
hardcore vocal and delivers one pissed-off, stand-down-to-nothing
performance. His violent sound and varied styles can be compared
to Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through. The mid-paced stomper
“Built on Blood” has that classic Biohazard attitude,
complete with the chorus gang vocal of the song's title. The
appropriately titled “Gangsta” has one of the
most badass guitar parts in recent memory and should get your
adrenaline flowing uncontrollably. The lyrics seem to reflect
the street code for Merauder. “Forgotten Children”
borders on death metal, as Rosado growls the chorus backed
by more ferocious gang chants. “God Is I,” “Hell
Captive” and the Latin-flavored “Ahora”—reminding
me of Sepultura—all follow suit, with punishing riffs
and a powerful, relentless attack. You'll be out of breath
and possibly knocked on your ass by the time this one stops
spinning, yet you'll probably hit play again.
Rosado has been with the band since 1995 and he's assembled
its current revamped lineup—a damn good one—after
a long period of downtime. After God Is I, I proclaim
Merauder is here to stay. Sure it's a lot of the usual hardcore
lyrical content—standing your ground, fighting for your
beliefs and survival on the streets—but Merauder's rough,
gritty street sound and very metal style should appeal
to any fan of heavy music.