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It's Alright... - 68%

Akerfeldt_Fanboi, August 8th, 2009

And that's all this album is, really. It's alright, its okay, and it's very standard. Every riff on here, every groove, every drumbeat, and every growl...is standard and kind of nonexistent. Now, I was given this album by a friend to listen to, and I only had a little amount of interest when I recieved it in a trade. The first few listens ended with me dissatisfied, I didn't even care that I had used up forty minutes of the day; it just seemed like another album.

And that's where this album falls down on its face. As I've said about five times already, this album is standard technical death metal. Although the band can write a good riff (see: intro to 'Twilight's Fallen' or 'Grotesque Modern Art'), they seem content with pedal point riffs that don't do much for the song or for the album, either.

The guitars are tuned low (B, I think) to give it a bit of chunk because I don't think this album would sound heavy without the heavy detuning, and the guitars have this airy, modern sound that really gets on my nerves. I'm a huge fan of those old South American buzzsaw tones, and this is about as far away from those as possible. The riffs, as I said before, either consist of pedal points, technical idiocy, or the occasional really good death metal riff.

The bass is absolutely nonexistent. I've heard later-era Slayer albums with more bass presence. It's sad, really. The drums are competent for a modern technical death metal release. What I mean by that, is that you get your helpings of blast beats, huge double bass fills and patterns, and rolls from hell. Now this is fine and dandy, but this permeates the album with a feeling of "look at me guys".

The vocals are most definitely the highlight here. Really, Mr. Elliot is a phenomenal vocalist in all categories. His lows have a gurgle and power that remind of Mikael Akerfeldt, but a bit lower and a little less powerful, and his highs have this airy, but weak, quality to them. One issue I have with this album's vocals, is they all sound detuned in the studio, as if Charles can't go this low. He might be able to, but it just feels automated and processed.

And, here is another issue. The production; I am a firm believer in analog recording, and especially cheap analog recording, and production like this album is just irritatingly clean. It feels as if robots are playing this album, but not in a group, as if they all have their own rooms and everything is handled with a stupidly mechanical feel.

So, overall, the album is weak in the instrumental aspect, production aspects, and songwriting aspects, but strong in the vocal and lyrical categories. I don't recommend this for anyone, unless you really like modern tech death with a sheen so bright, you'll blind yourself.