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Nothing? There's a little bit of something here. - 20%

Zodijackyl, September 28th, 2012

"Rational Gaze" is a very interesting song. The song begins with a very heavy groove, then it works its way out of it as it continues. After that it jumps sharply into a nu-metal groove with dissonant guitar work over it, reminiscent of a less catchy attempt at something like Korn's "Blind". The song eventually works its way back into this groove that falls apart as it plays. The guitar riff is in 25/16 with the kick drum following it while the snare and cymbal play a basic beat in 4/4, with the guitar part being played five times through and wrapping up with an extra 3/16 tacked on the end. It's an interesting brand of percussive bludgeoning, kinda like a double-length Hatebreed song minus the charisma. Unless you manage to get focused on it, the song sort of just repeats itself after a few minutes.

"Straws Pulled At Random" is the other standout track on the album, with an intro riff that sounds like a bastardized spawn of The DIllinger Escape Plan's "43% Burnt". The polyrhythmic nu-metal riffing is pretty groovy here, with some strong bending on low-tuned guitars that reminds me of the funky bass playing of Fieldy from Korn. There's a break later in the song where a clean guitar part comes in and Thordendal starts building up to an epic guitar solo, with some slow melodic playing. The song never gets there and they get back to chugging away as normal. I've been hoping that the band would break some boundaries and rip into a huge melodic solo there, a wish that has been denied for ten years, though the only chance they had to do it was when they re-recorded the guitars a few years later.

The completion of the album was rushed back in 2002 as they were a last-minute addition to Ozzfest. These two songs were put on a promo CD with two tracks from In Flames' "Reroute to Remain", which is an odd pairing other than both bands being Swedish, signed to Nuclear Blast, and blowing in terms of popularity at the time.

So, about the rest of the album. It's all the same shit. Skipping through the first ten seconds of each tracks will tell you everything that you need to know about this album - there's the polyrhythmic nu-metal riffs that start on a high note, and there's the ones that start on a low note - the band has a terrible habit here of picking a dissonant interval and confining themselves to two notes. It seems like they were doing math homework and occasionally stumbled across something good. That's what listening to this album is like - it's like doing math homework. You can zone out and deal with the feeling of impending dread that this is going to make the better part of the next hour unpleasant, or you can try to count high-speed polyrhythms. Remember when you got to a point in math classes when you wondered why the hell you had to waste time on shit when everything you needed on a daily basis was at an elementary level? This album has all the suffering of math homework with none of the utility.