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Like a good number of individuals across the globe, I carry a sleep debt larger than Dave Mustaine’s ego due to work, hobbies, and whatever else could restrict the brief hibernation of one’s brain. After it became a problem, I tried to “pay off” the debt by sleeping more, and doing so led me to the ultimate tranquilizer: Audiopain’s “The Switch to Turn off Mankind.” This Norwegian trio’s twenty-six minute slapper presents thrash metal in a watered-down light in which the focus is placed on unintelligent riffs, annoying vocals, and nasty production. Nothing knocks you out faster than boring-as-hell thrash, and any naysayers of such a claim will be singing a different tune upon hearing Audiopain’s tasteless pursuit at one of metal’s top identities.
Collectivity speaking, “The Switch to Turn off Mankind” holds no room for originality, but comes off as a second-rate crack at speedy cacophony with recycled riffs, doltish percussion, and ceaseless repetition patterns. Anyone digging for duds will find the guitars to be covered in common chord progression, identical speed intervals, and predictable tempo changes from beginning to end without any sign of change; this observation also goes for the percussion as it follows all the dumb designs of lacking conglomeration. I’ll be the first to admit there are a few riffs that force you to bang your head like a maniac, and the same goes for a thin sum of ripping solos; however, it’s not like this is a frequent affair. A surprising majority of this record is based solely around generic instrumentation, so expecting a constant onslaught of decency will lead to a fair portion of disappointment if that’s what you’re looking for. Basically, the thrash attack is very typical compared to other releases occupying the same genre, and such a lack of variety in Audiopain’s style is definitely damaging to this run-of-the-mill effort.
The plot to ensure enjoyment is unfortunately foiled by Sverre Dæhli’s strange attempt to add a shriek-laden icing over the thin-layered pastry of boredom, and the taste is anything but sweet. The stuff that emerges from the singer’s larynx is mostly found sleeping with high-volume wails and pestering screams, which certainly does not belong on a record of this nature; now mix it in with the awful production, and you can experience the lameness yourself. Dæhli is, for a lack of a better term, annoying as fuck because of his troll-like tone and squeaky pitch that’ll probably drive you nuts. This guy’s voice is not very appropriate for Audiopain and their take on thrash; he just sounds way too misplaced in nearly all vocal categories.
Excluding the slim amount of guitar magic, there really isn’t anything memorable or enjoyable on Audiopain’s second full-length flop. Sure it’s a thrash CD, but since when is everything under that particular label good? You’re bound to find a few rotten fruits when harvesting, and this is just one of those bad apples that can’t reach mandatory obligations on several important spectrums. Lacking and boring, “The Switch to Turn off Mankind” tosses its burden unto the doomed listener within minutes of the dreaded switch being activated. Mankind will be fine, but your awareness during a circadian rhythm is another story, so just pass this one by unless you REALLY love Audiopain.