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This was one of those albums I picked up on a whim from the used CD rack at Hastings, having only recently read a couple of good reviews for it on this site. If a band is classified as death/thrash on here, I usually end up liking them, so, I figured, why not?
Ugh. When I first gave it a spin, I was astonished. THIS used to be a technical death metal band?! THIS is "thrash/death?!" Trust me, there is nothing even remotely thrash or death on this album, and certainly nothing technical (unless you mean in the metalcore sense - pointless temp and time changes and whatnot). It's hard to describe what exactly this is (I think that's what they were going for, actually), but it's safe to say it's not metal and most definitely not my cup of tea. The harsh vocals are all right in a Devin Townsend-esque sort of way, but they get old pretty quickly due to the monotone delivery. The cleans, in addition to being overused, are quite bland and haunted by a specter of that forced emotion that makes emo vocals suck so much. No, they're not My Chemical Romance bad, but they have a slight tendency in that direction.
I mentioned uninspired clean passages, but just about all of this album is uninspired, actually. The melodies just don't work - they're not interesting, and they don't stay with you. The riffs, such as they are, are fairly dull as well. In fact, there's not really a memorable moment on this album. Now, I can appreciate music that isn't instantly catchy, but if I can get through a whole album without encountering ANYTHING that jumps out at me right away and makes me want to go back for a second listen, then there's a problem. And that's the way this one is - you get to the end of it, and you realize you have no desire to hear any of that again. Sure, maybe I could appreciate it more if I listened to it again and again, but what's the point of that if one has to force oneself?
In short, this album is mediocre through and through. Mediocre songwriting, mediocre musicianship, and mediocre vocals. Oh, and the lyrics suck. Normally, I'd give an album this thoroughly banal a 50% rating, but I halved that total; first, because I've since listened to some of this band's older stuff and I know they're capable of doing better, and second, because this album fails so badly at being metal. I've got no problem with non-metal, but these guys were clearly trying to make an album that, for all its experimentation, was still a metal album...and they failed. Hard.