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The album bursts opens with a loud procession of double bass and dark mysterious shredding, barked over by some intensely rough extremely grunted vocals. The first track has some cool creepy riffs and decent shredding, however, the track seems a little weak and the riffs a bit muddled, especially compared to what comes next. The second track is awesome and feels like the actual start of the album, like the first track could have just been an instrumental build up or something because it pales in comparison. It starts out with a bizarre and killer ice cold dissonant riff shredding and then… ULTRABLAST! Your speakers may prolapse at this point as double bass, double snare, hell double and quadruple everything begin gravity blasting the riff into sonic infinity, proceeded by mysterious electronic synths. I don’t think I’ve heard a drum machine used quite this way before, so it’s both brutal and cool in an extreme and experimental way.
It soon becomes clear that the musicianship on this album is slightly more technical, and that the feel of this album is a darker creepier one than before, in line with the albums theme and artwork. The second track really sets the mood and got me thinking this is how I imagined a good progression for Vortech, perfect sonic extreme metal. The negative for me is that this album doesn’t seem to hold up this high quality level song writing throughout. The songs often sound too similar, and the majority of the time the songs are good rather than great – even the high quality production can’t make up for that.
The sound this time around once again is pro and also seems to have improved, it is has a nice crystal clear sharp quality. The guitars stand out louder and clearer – a nice shredding tone. The vocals are at their most aggressive and brutal, the most extreme they have ever sounded and the guy sounds nuts growling his guts out, definitely some of the most intense growls I’ve heard. However there are some down sides to the sound.
What let this album down for me sound-wise are the drums. I think the drums are too dry and brittle sounding for this type of fast and heavy music. It’s not totally off-putting though; especially given the technicality of the drum programming which seems to have increased, that is enjoyable to listen to alone. Indeed, the drums could be considered an acquired taste as it does work nice in doses, but I don’t think it works well for a full length with the loud consistent volumes they play at. This is the single main let down of the sound to me. The bass is also a bit too weak or plain sounding at times but nothing to worry about, everything else sounds great.
The band has made an improvement in sound quality and clarity, matched with an even faster pace and a more industrial type sound, but faster and harder isn’t necessarily good. The arrangement has improved slightly with better use of instrumental parts throughout, and for perhaps the first time it feels like a deliberate structured full length. However, the main let down is that songs don’t seem so catchy and cult throughout which is a shame, especially given the dark nature of the album. It feels like they let loose quite a lot with their extremeness, and in the process overlooked the emotiveness and other qualities that make a good song. This affects the quality and flow of the album as a conceptual piece. They mix some great moments with a lot of average uninspiring ones - often in confusing ways, which is a shame given the obvious ability of this band. I prefer the previous works still overall.
The lack of consistently great material, topped with a different (sometimes off-putting) drum sound and a shorter overall length make this album less interesting, harder to follow, and not so easy to digest overall than the previous albums. The high production values, experimental nature and flow saved it losing any more points. Good album but too many average feeling parts, and the new techniques don’t seem to add anything great particularly - “If it works, don’t fix it”? Good effort though. Key awesome tracks are; Biodroid Legions, Shadowy Shapes and Exile Within.