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Rebirth!... Spoiled somewhat by the drums - 87%

silenceharmsyourears, March 3rd, 2012

First of all, I would like to start this by saying this album is immediately, noticeably 10 times better due purely to the production. More on that in a moment.

Musically this album is pretty damn awesome. It is more along the lines of more traditional Hate Eternal in terms of sticking to raw, pummeling, shredding traditional death metal brutal approach with normal instruments and more standard drumming approach which is good.... less bongo drums and other strange oddities added in from Derek Roddy. I think you can get more than enough weird sounds out of traditional guitars and drums and traditional playing styles etc, so I'm glad they've taken this route. The songs rip through with some amazing and memorable phrasing. Most of the songs are pretty memorable and excellent. This really does sound like the "Rebirth" of the band, as per the title of the first track which is a nice introduction. Excellent.

The Negative (The production, again)

The biggest issue I have with his album is once again the production, but this time I am focusing solely on the production of the drums. The guitars and bass/vocals etc. sound pretty nice on this one to me, or at least not noticeably distracting, but the drums still need a lot of work. They are very "off" and distracting somehow to me.

I am not a production expert by any means, I just know what sounds good and what sounds off as a fan. And as someone else mentioned "the drumming is always much too high in the mix, to the point that it really drowns out everything else going on". This sounds true to me also.

The drums sound too loud, too compressed, and too overproduced? Something along those lines. And once again, the sound of them is pretty muddy too. It's the same drums as used on the last album I can tell, just slightly better produced - but the snare is poop. As I said last album, the snare sounds like blasting an ice cream tub! It's SHAT.... for god sake guys, please change your snare drum. The tone of the snare and instruments going in is surely more important than the mastering and producing you do to it after.

You can have the greatest studio in the world and the greatest producers in the world, but if the sound going in is not both good AND, perhaps more importantly, complements the other instruments, it's going to be 1000 times harder to get a nice mix surely - that's just logic. So when I say the snare sounds like blasting on an ice cream tub, that means it is bad, perhaps very bad. The mud of the snare drum mixes with the mud of the double bass drums and just creates a blur of.... you guessed it.... MUD. And the toms sound a bit muddy themselves somehow, so they need looking at too.

Top this with a drummer who sounds not really ready to play insane 280bpm machine tight like Derek Roddy....and it sounds slightly too sloppy for my liking drum wise. Although as I said it's tolerable because all the other instruments sound pretty sweet this time.

Someone needs to give Jade a decent snare that complements his drum kit and other instruments (e.g. stands out distinctly, but in a good way, not ultra-triggered mud). Then Jade needs to slow down 10-20bpm and get tighter as a drummer and stop trying to play super-fast till he is machine-tight with his fills etc. Super-fast and sloppy just doesn't cut it for me and many others. Maybe when they've changed the drum sounds/triggering/production, then a bit of slop would be okay. I mean the Engulfed in Grief demo is a bit sloppy, but sounds sick because it's raw and analogue-ish. The drumming on this once again just sounds like over-produced, mud-trigger poo. Thank god the other instruments didn't suffer the same fate again.

Once the mud-trigger-poo drum snare/tom sound is fixed, Mr Rutan will surely have a better chance of getting an excellent mix as opposed to just good/average, and things should sound much better. The customer is always right! (usually)

Most of my review has once again been focused on production because I consider it still too distracting for my liking, but the music is sweet and you can actually hear what's going on fairly clearly this time. With a bit more progressiveness, strange chords, and guitar experimentation like in the brilliant tracks "The Art of Redemption" and "Haunting Abound", plus a none-distracting drum sound, a future release could easily get into the 9/10s for fans and none-fans alike in my opinion. Like the old school Engulfed and Conquering days.

p.s.
I am still hoping for a live-band type setup for a future video in a sick scene, more like Dying Fetus's "Your Treachery". Something mystical and pleasing to the ancient ones as opposed to miming along to fake CGI effects like in Bringer of Storms.