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If the whole album was solos, maybe it'd pass - 10%

PorcupineOfDoom, May 11th, 2015

I was excited when I found Kinetic, because it seemed like they'd have something interesting to offer. Prog death metal has been cool whenever I've listened to it, and with an EP of half an hour to listen to I was genuinely looking forward to what they had to offer. And perhaps that's why this review is going to be so negative, because I did have high hopes for this band, and those hopes have been severely let down.

The thing that irks me more than anything else is the vocals. I criticised Johan Liiva very heavily for sounding like he was talking angrily over the top of some awesome stuff, and this guy does a very similar thing, only slightly less angrily. He's not growling or screaming, and he certainly isn't singing, so what the hell is he trying to do? It's not appealing at all, and it just ruins anything good that's coming from elsewhere in the band. Maybe if this was a case like the one on Njord by Leaves' Eyes where the poor vocalist only got a very small time in the spotlight then I wouldn't care, but he's actually the one that spends more time doing the vocals than his female counterpart and has two entire songs to himself ('Realms of Nightmare' and 'Holy Instinct'). I'd be very happy if he went back to just playing his bass and left the singing duties entirely to his female co-vocalist, who seems at least decent at singing. She's far from the finest in the world (and I find she has a rather annoying tone of voice), but what she does beats the male vocalist hands down.

While we're bashing this guy for his shoddy job singing, let's comment on his bass playing too. The bass here is unusually clear and can be heard over the top of the guitars for the most part, but it's not really any good. That's partly down to whoever mixed the record, but the playing itself isn't exactly awesome either. It's pretty boring (kind of like the rest of the band) and occasionally sounds like he's struggling to keep time. God, this guy's really letting the side down.

But he isn't the only one, because the damn keyboards are horrible. Really, there's no other word for it. They don't fit in and they don't add anything, and they actually give the opposite effect from intended. My guess is that they're supposed to add another dimension to the music, craft some kind of skilled atmosphere (which, to be honest, is definitely needed), but it just sounds incredibly amateur and helps give the impression of this whole thing being one big, bad joke.

Another annoying feature of 6.6.6.6. is that all six songs follow the same pattern and basically bore the listener to sleep. I get it, it's progressive, it's supposed to build its way up to some sort of climax, but that doesn't mean every song has to be identical to the last one and the one that follows on. And do you know what the worst bit is? There isn't actually that much of a climax. It gets to an epic solo every single time, but then just falls back into the same chorus that you've heard before, the one that lacks any kind of punch. It fades out on a low, and after a couple of false dawns the pattern becomes all too obvious. Start with awful synth, build up to mid-tempo repetitive riffing, insert epic solo near the end, go back to repetitive riffing, end song, repeat on next track. That's what happens for the whole half hour.

The guitar that does perform so superbly in the solos is actually not that great elsewhere. There are a few semi-melodic hooks that are pleasant the first few times, but quickly become boring after you've heard it a few times. The rest is pretty standard riff patterns that have been used so many times you're not even sure who invented it. But whenever it comes to the solo section, no matter what track it is, no matter how awful the build up has been, suddenly the guy just becomes Randy Rhoads. It literally makes no sense, and I hate the fact that the guy doesn't show this level of creativity or skill anywhere else on the record. He could clearly improve the quality of this EP if he just allowed himself more time shredding and less time plodding along in the boring pattern that seems to be being dictated here.

All in all, a very poor release that perhaps explains why Kinetic have been inactive for such a long time. To be perfectly honest, even if they were to make a comeback I would steer well away from whatever they came out with. This one release is bad enough to put me off of them permanently.