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A Disappointment - 30%

Minutial, October 1st, 2008

After hearing the relentless assault of no-bullshit brutality, twisted melody, and ample technicality that is Loathing, I had relatively high hopes that this album would build upon, or at least continue from, the style exhibited on that album. Unfortunately, these feelings of hope were eventually replaced by feelings of discontent and utter boredom by the time the album was done.

First of all, the production on this album is horribly dull. The drums are flat and uninteresting and while the guitars are quite clear, they lack a certain liveliness that makes the album hard to give a chance without falling into deep sleep before the second song. Joe Ptacek's vocals demonstrate only a small fraction of the intensity and depth of his work on the previous album and ultimately feel very monotonous in comparison. Although to be fair, the production job here does fit the tediousness and mediocrity of the material on this album quite well, so it wasn't completely without purpose.

Now, just to get this out of the way, I do believe this band has the ability to write some good riffs and melodies. They proved this on Loathing, and, to an extent, on this album as well. The problem is their approach to songwriting is so ridiculously stale and incompetent, it almost completely invalidates any sort of merit these riffs and melodies could add to this album. Every song is so irritatingly formulaic, there really is no point to listening to any one song for more than the first minute. Once you've heard the first three or so riffs, you've pretty much heard them all. The sad thing is there are a good amount of potentially crushing riffs that are completely ruined by repitition and terrible arrangement. On the other hand, there are also many superfluous, tasteless tech-for-tech's-sake filler sections that bring this album down much more than any of the aforementioned problems I have with it. Carelessly pasting together decent riffs didn't help this album in any way, I don't know why they thought contrived complexity would do any better.

In summary, this album is the definition of triteness. Just stick with their previous effort Loathing and pretend this one never happened.