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I did not put this album on expecting to listen to death metal. From what I gathered off the band's front page on this website, their later works are categorized as a "Death/Progressive", meaning one, the other or both. After hearing the stark contrast between Scream Bloody Gore and Human, I thought, "Well, this certainly isn't going to sound anything like their earlier shit." Okay, first track's up. Good opening but a punch in the face is what everybody expects from the start of a metal album. It sure is fast. More into the song, I think to myself, "I need to start a fight with somebody." This is a good sign for me. And so it goes...Fast forward after about a dozen listens over several years and it hits me: The coherence...It's a lot of very technical, progressive metal yes but the lulls that enter quickly into the thrash sections are...inappropriate? That’s an odd word. How about “kind of dull?” To be perfectly forthright I have never been a huge “progressive rock” fanatic so there might be a bit of bias behind that statement.
As for the vocals? There's no gutter! That’s okay. This is progressive metal. They're melodic but far from clean and very, very far from rasps. They aren't barks either. Categorization's never been my strong point in all honesty. The real question is whether or not I think they're good. Truthfully? I'd give them a C+ for "motivation". I mean, that's the whole point of a vocalist, right? His voice soars above the chaotic wall of noise and the driving bass-line thudding along with the drumwork to the point where you physically feel it in your bones but, and this is coming from an individual who never had the pleasure of witnessing Death live, it just doesn't seem like these would be the kind of vocals that would get me good and pissed at a show. I certainly won’t believe that this album isn’t meant to make crowds move either. I really want to be entertained by this but I keep finding myself almost being kind of startled (and not in a really good way I'm afraid) but the frequent melody schisms that happen within the same song. Perhaps that was the intention? Either way, it's one of those things that kind of just dawns on me where the words are connected and formed into the sentence, "This part of the song sucks!"
Take Flesh and The Power It Holds for example to kind of clarify what I'm trying to say. It's all over the place. It keeps going from shred to "here's some floor tom chugging", then he does some virtuoso guitarwork layered over an emphasized bass to give it that, "Here's the interlude!" feel. Guess what comes after? Yes, of course: It's the part where they start riffing really fast again after some almost overdramatic single chord-strikes. No, wait. Moderately fast. Oh, there's that part. Great...This song is just unremarkable with every respect. Nothing sticks in my head. Yes, I know the word perseverance is in the album's title and that is obviously going to be a central thematic element behind the sound but, seriously, when I hear the next track, I think to myself: "This is great music. Oh, here's that lull. Guitar scream. Oh yes, I can see it now, a man surrounded by harrowing images that he has to conquer as he stumbles in the dark and then he smashes through a wall in a great blaze of sun-light over blinded eyes. It's just too bad this song seems so ironic in light of some of the other shit licks they've put on this CD." The last thirty seconds in To Forgive is to Suffer? What the hell is that? It just doesn’t sound good! I’m afraid to say that one of the only truly redeeming songs on this album, for me, is Scavenger. It’s not that the rest is “bad”, it isn’t that it’s bland either. It’s like somebody tried to make a flesh golem taking 75% of Brad Pitt’s body and then mixing it with Brian Pepper’s. Altogether, this is great shit but there are some very noticeably detrimental qualities about the general songs’ structure’s coherence and choice of melodies and tempo changes. Last example: 3:55ish to 4:10ish in Moment of Clarity? Utter crap. The majority of the rest of the song? Great! Like any other teamwork though, it’s only as good as the weakest member and that section of the song just kind of jars you and this is coming from somebody who tolerates a lot of music that I’m willing to bet most of the people here would piss themselves laughing at me over. I give this a C+. A 75 with some extra points for the excellent cover at the end.