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The Outer Limits Stretched and Violated - 96%

bayern, May 16th, 2018

Strangely enough, the band’s debut kind of passed me by the first time I got a hold of it some time in 2010 cause at the same time I came across three other works (Children’s “Hard Times…”, Abuser’s “Threats of Fate”, and Killem’s “Reflections of Decline”), all those masterful entries into the technical/progressive thrash roster which impressed me more, and I simply didn’t spend enough time with this larger-than-life futuristic, hyper-thrash saga.

But I had to go back and revisit it once the album reviewed here fell into my hands a year later, a stupendous work of complex metal art which did a lot to justify the guys’ very high status on the metal circuit at present. Although the debut can more or less squarely be described as “Darkane meets Destruction” with spacey Voivod-ish psychedelia casually provided, the expansion of the palette here is very audible making it hard for one to describe it with just three/four words…

The hyper-active base remains, though, as well as the guys’ penchant for lengthy sprawling cyber-sagas those clearly an acquired taste with their encompassing over-diverse character, but at least in the case of “Cosmic Cortex” the situation is strictly under control for a large part of its 10.5-min of playing time, the band bewitching the audience with an alluring serene intro before the intricate crescendos commence with virtuoso leads swirling around them, this delightful opera passing through a pleiad of moods and tempos, the only mitigated flaw being the misplaced deathy blast-beats which simply don’t belong here as the very dynamic delivery doesn’t need any additional push from them. The more compact, marginally more concrete side of their repertoire, however, is where things literally hit the top, like on “Echoless Chamber”, a mutated leftover from Destruction’s “Cracked Brain”, a creepy sinister shredder with twisting riffs and melodies, abrupt speedy “excursions” and astounding vortex-like decisions.

“Dying World” is a weird atonal mid-pacer with echoes of Mekong Delta, a serpentine cut which gradually picks speed until fast-paced fireworks become the norm again. The “Demolition” demo reminds of itself with “Tetrastructural Minds”, a fine progressive speedster ala Darkane with a bigger sense of melody (check out the extraordinary leads) exhibited throughout, the most linear proposition here with “Venus Project”, another piece from the same demo, a fabulous spastic technicaller with bold Coroner-esque strides recalling “Read My Scars” from “No More Color” except for the nice atmospheric serene mid-break. More balladic niceties at the start of “Dark Creations, Dead Creators”, an exemplary showdown of the “brief technical speedster” variety with just the right amount of elusive surreality covering the middle and followed by the most combustible headbanging stroke on the album. The last memory from the “Demolition” demo, “Fast Paced Society” features a couple of hellish piercing screams the mean “Schmier bit by vampire bats”-like vocals trying to play a bigger role on this shape-shifting number which weaves awe-inspiring perplexing riff-labyrinths, the balladic/semi-balladic digressions simplifying the approach a bit until a gorgeous moment of twisted atonality steals the show, and sends half the technical/progressive metal constellation into indefinite exile. A more labyrinthine, encompassing song-writing is still at play with the title-track, 8.5-min of ambitious progressive thrashisms which serve just fine to sum up the album, the hopping jumpy riffs taking turns with trippy psychedelic walkabouts with stunning clockwork regularity, the guys working like a well-polished machine, synchronizing their endeavours to the minutest click and tick, an amazing feat having in mind how many riff applications and time-signatures pass through their hands in a matter of seconds.

This album alone certifies the band’s golden status at the moment, a work of art which they may not ever be able to surpass. The term “cyber prog-thrash” can’t be defined any better than on this grand opus; Darkane again tried, but couldn’t quite bend it the more elaborate way, but it’s quite interesting to see how many newcomers have managed to produce something quite similar now that there’s a ready template to be followed: Dimesland, Torrefy, Droid, Vexovoid, Mandroid of Krypton, definitely another -oid that slips my mind right now… In other words, the (v)oid in this particular niche from the metal spectre has been filled in handsomely so the larger-than-life, multi-dimensional extreme progressive metal symphony that took place on “Terminal Redux” five years later shouldn’t come as such a surprise: the band had to look for other, extraterrestrial ways of expression in order to stay ahead of the competition.

The sky used to be the limit once upon a time for all walks of life, but in the case of our friends here it seems as though the latter’s outer limits have been reached, and even extended… I’m sure the guys don’t want to be hanging around somewhere up there, isolated from the more accessible, mortal ways of the music industry.