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A Session Interrupted by Compulsive Surreal Echoes - 91%

bayern, January 1st, 2018

The combination of deathcore and technical death metal has gained quite a bit of inertia recently, and although it has exasperated the purists, one can’t deny the fact that it offered some kind of deviation from the norms within the death metal roster. Some (Veil of Maia, Born of Osiris, Interrupting Cow, etc.) have been trying to justify the core tag more while others (Fallujah, Rings of Saturn, Beyond the Gates, etc.) have succeeded in balancing things out between the two sides, pacifying the death metal lobby with a more limited range of chugs and breakdowns.

The band under scrutiny here fall in the latter fraction as they don’t dissipate their monolithic sound with too many corey detractions although those are definitely present, but somehow merge with the highly-stylized melee which came close to the melo-death complexities of acts like Quo Vadis (Canada) and Arsis on the debut. Far from ground-breaking, but fairly professionally executed and full of combustible infectious melodies, this album was a promising beginning that must have done the trick in accruing some following for the guys.

Comes the album reviewed here, and things take a wonderful, shall I also say an unexpected, turn. The fields of melo-death have been left far behind the band having moved towards a more abstract way of execution siding with the cold dystopian intricacy of acts like Zillah, but viewed through a warmer, more atmospheric perspective, one that will also remind of Serdce’s transitional masterpiece “The Alchemy of Harmony”. “The Pendulum Swing” is an utterly mesmerizing opener, an atonal angular shredder with bold shades of twisted mathcore, something which visionaries like The Conjuration, Secta Rouge and Illogo would be very proud to have in their discography. A most unnerving, creepy inauguration which doesn’t settle for a single conventional motif even for a split second, this cut transcends the borders of death metal, but before one starts thinking of a more appropriate tag to label this approach, comes “Faradic”, a wild faradic… sorry, frantic cut crossing Atheist’s “Unquestionable Presence” with the cosmic complexities of Beyond the Gates the guys pouring loads of melody into the proceedings.

“Fractal Patterns” is a more elaborate progressiver which relative late-period Death-sque linearity is often intercepted by both atmospheric melodic and super-technical rifforamas, the final result a fairly wild, disorienting at times ride. “The Grave Mistake” is not exactly a mistake, but is a surreal cacophony of weird staccato rhythms and more decipherable progressive dramatism the hysterical overshouty vocals bringing the delivery to a fever-pitch. “Built of Glass” is a frenetic jazz-like extravaganza which has its captivating, quiet moments those carved by abrupt spasms of death metal brutality. Jazz, math, fusion and death shake hands in truce on the encompassing “Vertiginous” which interlaces all the influences into one boiling pot with eccentric riff-patterns galore some of which go back all the way to the first genuine attempts at innovation and outside-the-box thinking on the field, the ones from the Finish auteurs Flounder and Nomicon. “Primogenial Birth” jumps up and down in an acrobatic Necrophagist-esque manner, dazzling stuff enriched by spacey psychedelic passages and surging dissonant strokes. “Recollection” follows a similar pattern only more fusion-like, and “Satori” brings it all to a fair, albeit minimalistic conclusion with more melodic configurations ala the mentioned Serdce opus, the approach staying closer to the purer progressive metal norms.

Although at times the layout is not very far from the extreme progressive metal template with quite a few nuances rushing to impress the listener, often within a single song, there’s never a sense of overdoing it here; the band are fully aware that expansion of their palette would lead to merging the boundaries of several existing genres… the only issue they had to take care of was the blend to have coherence and to not sound awkward. No worries of the kind whatsoever as with so many ingenious outbursts of genius the guys easily acquit themselves, the listener hardly caring about any particular categorization absorbed in this very eventful, full of pleasant surprises symphony.

It would be interesting to hear how the next session would sound like, though… there’s the tendency such diverse masterpieces to be followed by a more introspective, and respectively more melodic, occasionally more simplistic as well, showing. All should be good as long as a couple of echoes from here are resonant and always on standby to shape the musical reality in a least expected crooked manner.

Sessions reviewed - 85%

Akerthorpe, September 25th, 2017

Massachusetts The Summoned have returned with their 2nd full length simply entitled “Sessions”. This was a difficult release for me to get into. At first I did not care for the, what I liked to call, the “industrialized” style of riffing, There are only a few bands that play in this manner and something about the way the band played rubbed my the wrong way. However, in the few times I have listened to it, it has definitely grown on me. One thing that really helps me form an honest opinion about the music I listen to is that I throw out all expectations. That might be hard to do when listening to any and all forms of metal music, but to do it any other way will only result in a biased opinion of the material. Letting go of all my expectations is exactly what I had to do here and I am really happy I did so. As far as the riffage goes, this is definitely for fans of Scar Symmetry, Origin, Fear Factory, The Kovenant, and Tidfall. With this being said, having the label of death metal just does not do this band justice. The roots and traditional aspects are there, but what I believe to be the industrialized elements in the riffs are only one aspect of what makes this release alluring. The drums are seemingly triggered in some spots but only for maximum effect. Definitely no filler here. There is also the occasional blast beat for added effect and depth to help keep things interesting. Add a slight progressive edge to the presentation and you have something that will remain brutal from beginning to end.

The bass is utilized in specific points on this release, but it is otherwise kept in the shadows of the other instruments. Usually I don’t like the lack of bass sound on an album, but it’s mixed well and at the forefront when needed. I’ve heard albums that lack bass all the way through and are barely listenable because of that fact. The utilization of the bass here is not minimalistic, but rather used in a way to bring out specific moments in the music. Excellent usage of this often overlooked instrument. As far as vocals are concerned, what we have here is an array of low to midrange growls/screams which is the perfect style and pattern for this material. Massive performance from beginning to end, these are the type of vocals that will carry you from the cradle to the apocalypse! I would have to say that this is a release for the open minded metal head. Like I said, I didn’t like it at first, but now I respect it for the brutal effort that it is. Expanding our horizons is often needed to enjoy what is in front of us. There is a lot of talent in this release. The band has definitely earned my respect.