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Almost too technical - 80%

The_Ghoul, November 23rd, 2008

Boy, this is complex. Actually, spastic is a better word. Rapid fire bursts of notes come one after another, with seemingly no rhyme or reason. The vocals sing, and not too bad or good, just average, but are seemingly not in concert with the rest of the band, although in the end, it all seems to fall together in place. However, it can be a grating listen at times, because the chaos seems to be almost overtaking.

One thing that must be noted is Norberg, the bassist. He certainly marches to his own tune, and while at most times, it's an asset, there are a few moments (and it's in every song except the instrumental Occam's Razor) where he simply is not playing along to the rest of the band. However, that is easily ignorable, as his talent is immense and his phrasing is exquisite. The guitars follow similar patterns, although I feel the bass, for the most part, is the lead instrument, not the guitars. That is not to say the guitars aren't super technical. They are, and they fly at you like razors launched at you through a titanium fan. Likewise, the drums, performed by Borknagar drummer Asgeir Mickelson, are spastic and all over the place.

If you couldn't tell, this album goes all over the place. I have never heard anything quite so ADHD, and as a result, the first few listens were a mixture of shock and the feeling of my insides liquifying due to the absolutely chaotic nature of the music. Repeated listens were hard at first, though, because like the title of this review says, this is almost TOO technical. I can guarantee this will fly over the heads of 90% of the people who listen to it at first. It's a purely cerebral excercise, and very few will "get" it, as if there's anything to get.

Another problem, oddly enough, is the repetitivity. There's a theory called the chaos theory, which, through all its impressive mathematics, states that pure chaos is so chaotic that it eventually follows perfect order. And herein lies this album; it's a musical representation of the chaos theory. And however chaotic it can get, it is regularly chaotic (with the exception of cloud constructor) and after a while all the chaos seems to blend together, and it's hard to distinguish several songs apart as a result.

An album with many great strengths and a few glaring weaknesses, I can't recommend this to everybody, but it's certainly a good listen when you want music that outruns the hamster on a wheel in your brain. Otherwise, you will most likely find this dense and unapproachable. It's a trade-off, for sure, but if you genuinely get this, you will love it.