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Rest in Peace > Feeding Frenzy > Reviews
Rest in Peace - Feeding Frenzy

To Unleash All This Frenzy and Find Inner Peace - 91%

bayern, April 3rd, 2017

I put an end to this reviewing spree that I had indulged in for the past four months, but then this “frenzied” effort appeared, literally out of the blue; and I had to sit down and pen one more. Besides, I’ve been looking for it for over six years now, ever since I got a hold of the band’s sophomore demo, the indomitable “Inner Scream”. About a month ago someone threw me the promotape which contains two songs from the demo reviewed here, but I wasn’t going to find inner scream… sorry, peace until I have added this first showing to my collection.

Rest in Peace are Switzerland’s best kept metal secret. They belong to the technical/progressive thrash sub-genre where also their compatriots Coroner, Calhoun Conquer and Lunacy do. Alas, they were one of the unlucky ones who never managed to reach the official release stage thus remaining just an underground phenomenon. A phenomenon that deserves to be much more widely recognized having put their name relatively early on the map with this striking 5-tracker. What these guys have achieved here beggars belief: “Against the System” is supposed to be the relaxed, more carefree opener, and indeed its beginning is more on the moderate, even lyrical if you like side ready to hit the Queensryche registers any time… yeah, in some other derivative generic universe probably, but not here. All of a sudden, completely unheralded, commences a most unusual, surreal, bizarre riff “salad” which puts Mekong Delta, Living Death and Target together the guys speeding up to a nearly hysterical pitch by preserving the outlandish, extraterrestrially technical nature of the music until a marginally more standard “bass vs. leads” begins; expect an absolutely stunning maze of more surreal technicality after it before the band space out with fast rampant, hectic riffs which predate the aggressive intricate exploits of acts like Atheist, Hellwitch, and Hexx.

This first track is such an eye, mouth, ear, and every-other-orifice-in-your-body opener that it will take a bit of time before the listener is ready to continue with the remainder. The only other number I can compare it to is the opening one from Target’s “Master Project Genesis” “The Coming of Chaos”, the ultimate show stealer in the progressive/technical thrash spectre. This one is very close to beating it, a totally unexpected masterpiece of bursting musical genius which only flaw is the thin, child-like, not very rehearsed vocals that will continue to be the unmitigated annoyance later. It only remained to be seen whether it would overshadow completely what follows suit the way the Belgians’ hymn did. Starts “Lost Soul”, and the fans will thoroughly savour the beautiful keyboard melodies at the beginning which turn to epic folk-ish motifs later, the vocalist trying his utmost to sound relevant to the great music by pitching it higher to a seriously laughable effect, helped at some stage by a lower more acceptable baritone. More intense jarring thrashing begins towards the middle creating a lot of chaos before a brilliant balladic passage puts things in order the keyboards taking over for an imposing operatic finale.

That last track is way more linear and predictable, compared to the preceding “insanity” of course, but comes ”Alien” which short ambient intro delays the hyper-active intricate rifforama that resumes with all the perplexity and bewilderment it can muster the singer assisting in a much more convincing, semi-declamatory manner the trippy cosmic atmosphere achieved in the first half vintage early Voivod. The approach becomes quite jumpy later reaching jazzy dimensions that become even more complex the guitars going for the virtuoso Shrapnel-like feats, this very eventful progressive “cacophony” continuing in a marginally more conventional speed metal fashion, until it all goes heads down into Bizarroland in the second half with operatic variations on Mozart (I think), virtuous chaotic riff accumulations which would make acts like Spiral Architect and Manitou proud, and a jarring bass-driven funky exit; 8.5-min of some of the most variegated kaleidoscopic metal ever released in the 80’s.

Coherence and conventions go out the window after this larger-than-life saga so anything that follows will be accepted by the listener’s inordinately open mind now who doesn’t need any psychotic mushrooms, or LSD, or peyote to enhance his/her senses. The music here carries out this task better without any seeming side-effects, including the title-track which switches onto technical speed/thrash with abrupt time and tempo-shifts along the way, the energetic music matched by the vocals which seem to become better with each passing song. A great lead section occupies the middle the guitar player racing with the Shrapnel performers for the umpteenth time before the speed/thrashing crescendos resume to provide a compelling ending to this entertaining roller-coaster.

The instrumental “A Human Disease” has the ungrateful task to close this very ambitious, and yet light-hearted in a strange psychedelic way, recording… Not to worry as it has 11.5-min to do the job the guys relaxing with cool melodic hooks initially accumulating inertia bit by bit until stomping, keyboard-ornated rhythms appear to inaugurate the arrival of an intense speed/thrashing section where the guitars and the keyboards duel to the death, until a quiet lead-driven cut again puts an end to it. Expect a pyramidal structure in the second half where the speed/thrashing “tornado” reigns supreme for a bit before the more melodic motifs from the beginning emerge for a grand finale that comes more heavily keyboard-decorated the latter sounding as though directly taken from the early Deep Purple albums.

Wow, this was… a mind-opener as well. The first track remains the highlight like in the Target case, also being the shortest piece as on the other four numbers the guys throw a lot of stuff at the fans loading them with a nuance after nuance each subsequent one being more befuddling than the last until the listener becomes overwhelmed with so much elaborate music. If we had four other tracks “against the system”, we would have had the finest product from the country after Coroner’s “Mental Vortex” all these years. Now we have a great progressive metal effort, an eccentric assembly of ideas which may be a bit too hard to swallow on first listen, but would be by all means worth investing the time into discovering more underneath these layers of “frenzied” musical intricacy.

The band put their repertoire under tighter control for the “Inner Scream” demo three years later which saw them providing still fairly complex, but more ordered and logical compositions that didn’t possess the frenetic, chaotic charm of those here, and may be the better option for those who want to experience the band’s alluring, labyrinthine style for the first time. Still, this “frenzy” here will definitely make me go back for it on more or less regular bases now that I have found inner peace at last… to not be continued.