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From terrible to almost completely bad. - 27%

hells_unicorn, June 29th, 2008

Improvement is a relative term, and when someone states that this album is an improvement on the last one they are correct, but that is not necessarily a strong case for purchasing this considering how bad its predecessor actually was. It is well established that the style this band sort of pioneered has been a force in the musical mainstream, which makes this seeming departure from it a little curious. Does this move away from the hardcore side of their hybrid stylistic misconception amount to them admitting that their last release was terrible? Probably not, but this embracement of a more consistent formula that somewhat resembles death metal has not done a hell of a lot to improve their problems.

Everything present on “Genesis” is an attempt at stylistic consistency. The riff and sectional construction approach has moved away from an overtly fragmented character into something that resembles coherence, but unfortunately the band still can’t resist the urge to throw in unnecessary time/feel changes that disrupt the flow of the song. The drum approach is mostly where the disjointedness of their sound has endured, as the fills are pointless, the changeups are extremely numerous, and no discernable beat emerges. Any sense of continuity that might appear in the arrangement is largely dependent on the riffs, which still avoid anything memorable, and occasionally revert back to the meandering that typifies previous works.

The band has also elected to employ guitar solos for the first time, which was a very huge mistake given their inability to even create solid guitar riffs. All of them are extremely short in length, which in itself isn’t necessarily bad, but they don’t have any punch to them at all. You don’t hear the solos and say “wow that was impressive” or “this makes me want to listen to 2 minutes of disjointed musical nonsense just so I can experience it again”. There isn’t any real methodology or stylistic individuality to any of these leads, nor do they attempt to intermingle with the music around them. They are simply there, in the most generic fashion, acting as yet another musically directionless piece of window dressing on top of a cesspool of dry riffs and drum showboating.

The vocal approach is where most of the actual improvement has emerged. Instead of simply piling on more over-varied vocal impersonations of multiple extreme styles, most of what is heard on here is passable though unspectacular George Fisher style death grunts. Occasionally some half assed primal screams work their way in, but most of the time they tend to work with the primary grunts rather than fight them for prominence. While not something that could be called a highlight of the album, it definitely cuts down on the otherwise offensive and pointless technical wanking present everywhere else and anchors the sound into something that could be called loosely regulated.

From start to finish, there is only one song on this thankfully short album that really qualifies as good, and that is “The Divine Falsehood”. It is probably the only full length song that doesn’t have a guitar solo, which is a positive considering the band can not write them well, and is also completely devoid of the thematic meandering and drum diarrhea that everything else the band has ever released is perpetually soaked in. It mostly resembles a decent Dimmu Borgir song (without the shrieks) with a little bit of a doom element to it. The vocal delivery is adequate and the drums completely avoid doing fills every 3 seconds or bouncing back between triple and double feel every 8 seconds. If the band wrote plainer music like this and didn’t consistently try so hard to be ridiculously extreme sounding and technical, they could be considered listenable.

As far as death metal albums go, be it technical or brutal, this is about as poor as it can get without morphing into the hideous deathcore sub-genre/monstrosity that is still guising as extreme metal. Although a pretty short listen, the highly compressed amount of unmemorable ideas makes it seem a lot longer. Being as I’m not one to endorse blowing $15 of your hard earned money on a crappy album that barely breaks 30 minutes; this can not be recommended to someone who is actually predisposed to liking the elements at work on here. It is uncertain what the future will hold for death metal, but a better future would be one with this band ceasing to exist.