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Marching in Unison Towards a Dystopian Future - 68%

bayern, June 12th, 2020

The march of the robots in the new millennium got enriched with another practitioner, Vedonist. Quite a few new converts (Ouroboros, Beyond the Gates, Terminal Function, Banisher, etc.) from the once-prolific prog/tech-thrash/death fraternity have joined this formidable march… yeah, it takes that much to stop a classic metal wave. And it seems as though the end of said wave is near… it can’t fight the rising dystopian tsunami anymore…

I’ll stop right here before I turn into a most loyal George Orwell (remember “1984”) advocate; no, things are not that scary, not yet anyway, but it’s a bit worrisome this tendency, to abandon the melody and the technicality and to replace them with sterile hygienic chugs and stomps… the soul of a new machine, like Aldous Huxley and Fear Factory used to propagate once upon a time… but those times are gone, right? Aren’t we supposed to live through a second Renaissance; at least music-wise?

Yes we are, and this is why we can’t sit still watching one of the most promising practitioners from the tech-thrash/death circuit swallowing a bowl of thick mechanistic semi-tunes, and spitting them right in front of the eager audience… audience who was hotly anticipating a faithful, or at least semi-faithful, sequel to the band’s brilliant sophomore. Cause the band definitely had the ideas for at least one more such pull… if the artistic urge hadn’t taken them in a very different direction that is. Well, judging by the rowdy cuts “Visual Echo of Distress” and “Vulture of War” the energy is still there, but this is a much less technical exposition with Xan almost unrecognizable except on the stylish lead sections; “At the Feet of Christ” exhibits some originality recalling Darkane, but this is still far from the bewitching guitar acrobatics that peppered the sophomore. Although this album by no means turns to a Meshuggah tribute, one can’t ignore the dispassionate mechanical chugs that permeate this recording even on the most brutal blast-beating sections. “Sentenced to Atavism” and “Nhac Do” bring back the complex vigour from the preceding showdown with crisp more entangled riff-patterns, but sitting through monotonous mid-paced dirgers like “Internal Bleeding” and “Delusional Parasitosis” would be an ingratiating task even for the Soulstorm fandom.

This isn’t a flop; in fact, musicians of such a calibre would be able to make even a collection of 60’s evergreens sound appealing. The thing is that more was expected by the band after such a showdown as their second opus. They could have nailed one more awe-inspiring presentation before surrendering to any other less flashy currents. It’s true that the energy remains by-and-large, but it’s not easy to swallow this inhospitable clockwork therapy which seems to delineate the patient rather than consoling him/her… besides, the new vocalist is even more rending and more shouty than the previous one, aggravating the anxiety with only Xan serving some warmth with his visionary lead insertions.

Could be just an isolated temptation… the Greeks Sickening Horror attempted something similar (“Overflow”, 2015) as a solitary stint. Exorcise your mechanistic dystopian demons and go on… don’t dwell on the anti-future for too long; it won’t put you to rest. I mean, do you really want future where everything is ruled by meticulous soulless clockwork mechanisms?