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The Downfall of the Longest Song-Title Enterprise - 93%

bayern, August 10th, 2018

I couldn’t get enough of the guys’ full-length when I got a hold of it some time in the late-90’s, an utterly weird, trippy psychedelic listening experience the band trying to update the Voivod-ish surreality for the 90’s generation, this opus predating their Canadian peers’ “Negatron” by whole two years.

And it wasn’t only the full-length; the sophomore was an eclectic, avant-garde form of progressive metal/rock, another marvel with no ties to thrash; before “Collapse” came crashing three years later, but with a more modern groovy/post-thrashy, also much more orthodox, flavour the band eventually tasting the 90’s “fruit” just before the latter got stale. They honoured the new millennium with “War Against the alMighty” first, another masterpiece of progressive futuristic, thrashy perplexity that matched the full-length’s innovative grandeur every bit of the way; then they shot “The Impostor”, an excellent, albeit fairly surprising turn towards the classic thrash canons with a hefty Bay-Areasque veneer…

A lengthy break followed before the album reviewed here appeared. As not two albums have sounded alike until that point, it was difficult to predict how exactly the guys would choose to entertain the audience this time. Another hard-hitting retro thrash assault along the lines of the preceding opus would have been just fine… no downfalls of any kind expected for sure. And there weren’t any as the band have voted to give their more original, progressive side another go to the fans’ utter delight. The first thing that sticks out here is the song-titles; very long elaborate sentences/phrases, fairly intriguing mouthfuls that couldn’t have possibly been served with mere primal aggressive riffs.

In other words, this is more like an upfall in every department with the surreal outlandish rhythms of the hallucinogenic "Substituting Forgiveness with Mass Destruction" befuddling the listener, bringing sweet memories of the recently released Voivod’s “Target Earth”. The shadow of the previous “The Impostor” springs up later with the more intense technical shredder "God Granted Your Prayers…", and things become even more interesting right after with the dazzling vortex-like Coroner-esque decisions on "I Owe You a Billion Years of Terror". More trippy dissonant psychedelia with the disorienting jumpy "Subhuman's Towns Merciless Obliteration" with more abstract surprises served on the unpredictable stop-and-go delight "The Shadow That I Cast Is Yours…" where more linear headbanging sections try to fight their way through fairly complex, barely decipherable riff-knots. Mentioning headbanging, there’s more of it provided on "You Nailed My Soul…", but this is a stiff robotic marcher that even the early Meshuggah exploits would find hard to match, with "The Downfall Is Here to Stay…” serving more fast-paced skirmishes amongst the nervy sterile, mechanical riff-patterns.

In the long run this marvel sounds more aggressive than the debut the intense, pretty adventurous thrashing leading the show save for the isolated doomy quasi-industrial dirge "She Can Smell the Blood…"; only that this is thrash strictly for the modern generation with the few classic references more of casual nostalgic strokes than intentionally carved building blocks. The album comes as one compelling, dizzying whole with surprises at every corner as there are numerous twists and turns within a single composition although the listener will seldom be left completely befuddled as very few cuts last beyond the 5-min mark. In fact, the latter may be more confused by the tale-telling song-titles, most of them given with ellipses here, otherwise this review was going to be several pages long…

Comparisons between this opus and the mentioned “Target Earth” can be made further largely due to the very similar permeating spacey psychedelic clout that wraps both efforts, but the execution here is more brutal the guys intent on generating quite a bit of intensity, whenever a puzzling riff-formula doesn’t “obstruct” the way, determined to preserve the “thrash” tag all over; something that doesn’t seem like their Canadian counterparts’ most urgent agenda with more laid-back digressions incorporated. There’s this insistently modern atmosphere as well, also expressed through the production, one that the Voivod album doesn’t serve so prominently, giving the recording a somewhat abrasive vibe which still works well in team with the intricate arrangements and the capable hoarse semi-shouty/semi-deathy vocals.

“Downfalls” of the kind from the guys’ camp will be more than welcome in the future, that’s for sure; especially if the band vote to keep moving up this modern visionary thrash directory… and also if they preserve those lengthy song-titles of which I still have second thoughts giving them to my daughter as the routine daily dictation…