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Mutant > The Awakening Conscience > Reviews > bayern
Mutant - The Awakening Conscience

When the Mutant Awakens… - 92%

bayern, August 29th, 2018

...bringing consciousness to spare to the fore, only grand things can be expected even by the more demanding late-80’s audience. Our four (based on the picture here) friends here should be much better known as this 3-tracker, their only legacy to the world, is a pioneering achievement in the death/thrash hybrid roster, a dark deeply atmospheric effort which also exuded heaps of doom around the contrived faster-paced walkabouts.

At first not too many unorthodox developments can be easily spotted with the pensive balladic intro of the title-track although the superb lead guitar work should impress even wizards like Andy Larocque and Jim Dofka; and when some cavernous sinister doom hits right after the listener may get a bit depressed… but not for long as more stylish guitar acrobatics start piling up those predating the similarly-executed vistas on the first two Therion albums and Nocturnus’ “The Key”, with an appropriate keyboard-guided setting rising literally out of nowhere, also to give the band’s compatriots Bal-Sagoth and the Austrians Korova a ready template to expand upon. Yes, pioneers indeed, including in the throaty deathy vocal department the guy one of the first to use the intense guttural semi-shout which is raised by half an octave for the more dramatic arrangements on “Infernal Reign of All Saints”, a masterpiece of contrasting gloomy doomy soundscapes and virtuous intricate vortex-like configurations with some of the first genuine blast-beating sections applied to a shattering effect. Thrash steps in for “Bewildered Millions” which is a superb technical shredder the more energetic thrashy escapades overwriting the bold attempts at doom and darkness, the latter still managing to steal a few precious respiteful mid-breaks.

The first actual attempt at more technical song-writing on British soil, this excellent effort loses a couple of points from the sloppy production department, but in terms of musicianship it had no rivals on the Isles at the time although the underground over there quickly caught up with the more challenging music soundscapes a few years later, the death/thrash blend reaching technical heights on the works of Devolution and Microcosm, not to mention the non-death metal related exploits of visionaries like the progressive metal giants Inner Strength and the Voivod-worshippers Wartech. Later acts like Korova, Therion and Nocturnus again used these ground-breaking “mutations” to initiate their careers, and although neither of those held steadfastly to them for long, it was clear that these obscure innovators had accomplished their mission, to start deep dark, multi-tentacled undercurrents, reverberations of which can still be heard soundly some 30 years down the line…