The state of their t-shirts, their garish colours and their slam beatz: it can all seem too much.
First impressions of this new one were of hyperactive, over-caffinated tracks that go up and down the fretboard as clickety clack beats ticker-tape underneath, all set off to Skrillex slams. Cripes.
And indeed that’s the impression that sustains for a while (or indeed permanently on tracks like ‘Parallel Shift’).
Yet spending a bit more time with this has led me to something of a greater appreciation of what they’re doing: and that really, it’s not entirely different from what bands like The End and even Origin have been at in the past.
Stripped of the cartoonish art and luminous logos we’re left with some hypertechnical, pulsating death metal variant that has a lot of spacey soundfields to explore.
Take for example the keyboard pad textures that weave through the aforementioned ‘Parallel Shift’; really those sounds are straight out of the first two Theory In Practice albums, and that’s no bad thing at all.
The janngling acoustic gypsy style stuff (‘Unhallowed’) that makes onto this is also immediately reminiscent of The Faceless’ carnivalesque tendencies as well.
So for every harmonized tapping run over downtuned, even downtuneless crunching, there are moments of real atmosphere and even hooks.
Alright, so ‘Immemorial Essence’ is like Origin mixed with Dragonforce stuffed with fizzy chews and forced down with lemonade – perhaps too much scattergun clipped stops and noodling all over.
But at the same time it is impressive how the track bears down near its conclusion into a layered, atmospheric slam with a lovely lead lick over the top.
‘The Relic’ as well is most certainly reminiscent of modern-era Cryptopsy (the better elements of them anyhow), and has a video game feel – shared also by the excellent ‘Harvest’. Tracks like ‘Margidda’ too are highly engaging – wispy and starry.
So it wont be for everyone. I’ve always loved ultra technical death metal, despite its faults, and I suppose this is just its 2017 evolution.
There wont be any lyrical depth here, no true hostility or sense of force, rebellion or righteous indignation; but as a sequence of futuristic sound sketches it’s at least diverting.
If anything, listening to it lots has revealed a lot to commend, albeit hardly to shout from the rooftops. If you’re up for something new, and enjoy your technical niches, give it a go.
Others will just be repulsed, I’d imagine.
2.8 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 21/08/17