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A Safe Option for All Incorrigible Sceptics - 84%

bayern, April 3rd, 2018

This band was founded by Jacek Hiro, a beaming talent on the guitar wizard’s horizon, and also the main driving force behind the technical/progressive death metal masters Sceptic. Initially this was intended as a side-project for the man, to vent out his more thrash-fixated ideas, but quickly turned into more than that the guys shooting two albums in quick succession in the early-00’s, announcing their arrival on the more technical side of the thrash/death metal hybrid.

Although there were moments that recalled Hiro’s main occupation, the guys’ delivery was on a quest for finding more individual ways of expression resulting again in a more thrashclad physiognomy, and a tad more elaborate riff-patterns. With Hiro busy with Sceptic at the start of the new millennium this instalment here appeared after a lengthy hiatus, but sees the whole team up to the challenge, producing another fairly convincing slab of intricate death/thrashisms.

What has been a staple element in the band’s repertoire, as well as in the one of Sceptic for that matter, is the constant supply of infectious melodic hooks that seem to be flying from all sides, making cuts like "A.M.O.R (Another Mutation of Reality)" and "Fiction Generator" undeserved leftovers from the Death repertoire. With those two bringing the sound closer to the Sceptic output as well, one would be probably happier with the numbers that don’t point in this direction with all the ten fingers like the stupendous twisted Coroner-esque shredder "Too Blind". Mentioning the Swiss legends, there are more nods to their legacy like the meandering abstract puzzler “2996” which marries “Mental Vortex” with “Grin” under bouts of surreal, hallucinogenic atmosphere. Masterpieces of the kind are more than welcome, but those catchy melodies have to be kept flowing, and here are tributes to the Swedish melo-death wave like "Questions Within"” and "And I" the latter introducing the ex-Vader guitarist Maurycy Stefanowicz for a brief showing. More guest stars later with Arch Enemy’s Angela Kossow merging with the equally as intense and shouty main vocals on "Painted Black", a superb labyrinthine progressive thrash/deathster, the highlight here, with the diverse stomping mid-paced technicaller "Grain of Sand" a close second.

Less dynamic respites like these “Grains” are not a very frequent phenomenon at all as the band stick to the speedy, hyper-active at times, approach for most of the time which brings the winds of death more prominently than on the first two showings. Still, this could hardly be viewed a complaint as the headbangers will fully receive their dosage of fast-paced shenanigans, and the technical music lovers would also find what to savour as the intricate moments are more than just a few, albeit often served in a fairly energetic fashion. Sometimes one may have the feeling that slowing down here and there would probably bring more complex, shall I also add more interesting, fruit but the overall package doesn’t tolerate any irredeemable blemishes as it all comes quite well rounded up in the end.

Well, that was just a momentary “back to the front” stunt, the guys scattering around the Polish metal field later, most of them ending up in other death metal outfits like Redemptor, Decapitated, Dies Irae, etc. Hiro himself has been keeping the Sceptic idea alive these past ten years, but largely in a smouldering, definitely not conflagrating, manner… he hasn’t said “Never!” to Never, though; I’m sure. He hasn’t cause there will always be a room on the front for another sophisticated, melodious death/thrash “carnage”.