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Always being watched? or Never being seen? - 95%

sobermetalheadduh, May 16th, 2011

I've been debating for a while which album I should review first, but I think this one deserves the honor of FIRST REVIEW for me.

I'm listening to this record for the 5th time all the way through. I didn't want to write this review until I had enough knowledge of the ins-and-outs of the music herein to preclude any fanboy bs. There is so much to discuss so instead of writing a long introduction, I'll begin reviewing the actual music.

To begin with, the guitars are absolutely pristine. The tone is exactly what I look for in death metal, which is slightly dirty yet with a real cutting edge to them. The riffs are huge. The sonic landscape presented reminds me of some of the stuff that Immolation did on their most recent album crossed with some of the strange push-pull seen in Gorguts' "Obscura". There is obvious jazz influence present which makes for an intriguing listen and is different from much of the "tech-death" that has been coming around recently. This is not the jazz-wankery of Behold... the Arctopus, or the neo-classical virtuosity of a band like Necrophagist (not to sound negative, I actually love Necrophagist, just making a point), this is something I personally haven't really heard since "Obscura". The riffs are acrobatic, precise, and f***ing heavy! For me, the most perfect example of this Gorguts-like dynamic is in the song "Idiot Circles".

Moving along, the vocals... this is probably where this album loses points for me. I don't know why, but some (not all) of the vocal lines are taking a little too long for me to get into. But like with most wonderful pieces of art, perhaps this will change as I experience this album more and more.

Like with most (good) modern death metal, the bass is definitely there and adds to that Gorguts-like push-pull that I'm so darn fond of. Just for the record, this album is NOT just ridiculous Gorguts worship. These guys definitely have their own vision, albeit a very bleak and sludgy vision. My point is that they are unique enough within the death metal world that the only band I can compare them to without sounding like a completely asinine fool is Gorguts because they share that same sense of discord, heaviness, fog, darkness, jazz, and insanity.

My favorite part of this album is the drums. Alex is more than just a person to hold the rhythm of the songs. He adds his own sense of interesting fills and blasts as he sees fit. Honestly, I've known Alex since 7th grade, so I'm a bit biased, but I watched him grow from a frenetic Jazz drummer in middle school to one of the most proficient dm drummers I've ever met. This album shows these two styles of drumming being combined to perfection.

If you are looking for deathcore, sterile tech-death, mallcore, or any other form of metal bastardry, stay far away from this release. But if you are like me and have craved a new good death metal album, this is for you. I'm very excited to see what these guys do next, and hey, maybe they'll get signed to a label someday!