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Earlier in the year I discovered Luciferion, sadly now apparently disbanded, and it was in trying to find out what those folks had done afterwards that I came to this album by ATP. (Incidentally - not to be confused with Altar of Plagues, which is very different!) Listening to Great are the Eyed on YouTube for the first time brought to mind my first encounter with Dimmu Borgir, who peeled my face off with the opening tracks of Puritanical; that same total blasting intensity, rendered with searing clarity and genuine commitment, giving way then to something altogether more majestic.
Decoding the Mainframe's sound can roughly be described as modern symphonic black metal in the style of later Dimmu Borgir and Old Man's Child. The sparkling production, orchestral keyboards, marching riffs, and many of the vocal effects are taken straight from Dimmu Borgir. Having said that though, I would add that the band that came to mind as I got further into the album is Eric Peterson's Dragonlord project, largely because there's something of a technical thrash vibe too in some of the riffage, the same heavy focus on guitarwork laced with keyboards, and the vocals are startlingly similar. It's a safe bet that if you like Dragonlord, you'll like this, and vice-versa.
I'd be lying if I said that you'd hear anything on here that you haven't heard before if you followed metal in the 90s and 2000s, and for that reason only I can't really give it a higher rating. But it is exceptionally well done in every other respect -- especially the solos, which manage not to be the usual twiddling -- and definitely worthwhile if you're a fan of any of the bands mentioned (or Dimmu clones in general: Naglfar etc). If you're coming from the same Luciferion angle as I was (and if you're not - I command you to listen to The Apostate immediately), you might not find this to your taste - that Morbid Angel/Deicide/Emperor blend seems to be unique to Luciferion.
stumbled upon these guys due to the fact they have Wojtek Lisicki playing in the band, it was one of those days where I was spinning Lost Horizon thinking to myself "I wonder if any of these guys are doing anything exciting at the moment." A quick Internet search and I found myself listening to Against The Plagues and the track in question, "Great Are The Eyed"... let's just say I had my ass kicked. If melodic black metal with death metal touches is your cup of tea, then Decoding the Mainframe is an album worthy of your attention.
What really struck me about these guys is their tasteful use of keys and guitar solos, in particular the guitar solos which really speak out to me. Reminiscent of Lost Horizon in places – this is of course due to "Transcendental Protagonist's" input (Wojtek for the uninitiated) – guitar solos spring up at the most opportune of times with a very mystical sound, never overbearing, just tastefully done. Tracks such as the aforementioned "Great Are The Eyed" display this band's sound perfectly, with furious blast-beats coupled with the ferocious vocals of Orlando Logan Perez and backing vocals courtesy of Wojtek, all intertwined with interstellar keyboard passages and of course those impressive guitar leads that sound right out of another dimension.
Of course, Decoding the Mainframe isn't just a one trick pony, with each of the tracks on offer being equally impressive. At eight tracks and just under 45 minutes this is a nice listen that doesn't overstay its welcome with tracks such as "War Against The Plagues", "Force From Within", "Order Of Decay" and of course "Great Are The Eyed" all really stand out to me as highlights on this release. Overall this is one of the best "extreme metal" albums I've heard this year, and while utilizing some fairly common conventions this manages to stay adrift amidst the stream due to some fairly original touches. Fans of black/death should certainly check this out, as this is a great listen.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com