Ho Chi Minh - It Has Begun

Named after a Vietnamese communist revolutionary that became prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (thanks Wikipedia!) this Portuguese (yep! no Vietnamese) group practises a type of industrial-electro metal that’s heavily evocative of bands like Fear Factory and Spineshank. But hey, don’t runaway just yet, because Ho Chi Minh aren’t really that bad. In fact, they’ve made an enjoyable debut album filled with punchy rhythms and aggressive riffs. The Portuguese collective are fairly competent and have written songs that have power and aggression, but also have strong hooks and melodies that will stick in your mind. That’s not to say “It Has Begun” is hair-raising exciting or downright original since it reveals a few downsides that demonstrate that Ho Chi Minh still have some way to go in establishing a sound that is bound to steal our zealous attention and could be tagged as their own. The biggest issue with “It Has Begun” is the fact that it sees Ho Chi Minh falling into tepid formulas very easily, merely content on treading comfortable ground in the shadow of their influences. Basically, you have pounding rhythms and mechanized riffs peppered with sampled effects, verses growled with ferocious intensity and chorus sung with crystal clarity. While on the first few tracks like “My Decline”, “Aside” and “My Own Enemy” it actually sounds quite enjoyable and entertaining, from then on it starts to emerge as slightly tiresome and tasteless.
If Ho Chi Minh could throw away some the outlines inspired in Spineshank’s accessible and not so interesting electro-metal style, specially the rapping, and could stretch some of the most admirable ideas evidenced on the first three tracks to the entirety of a record, then they will be a damn fine band.

Band info: www.myspace.com/hochiminh
Label info: www.myspace.com/ragingplanetrecordsportugal