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Exhausting 80-minute journey, highly intense - 60%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, April 20th, 2012

First and last full-length for San Francisco band Weakling, this album is very highly regarded by many and few other BM records I've heard can match this one in intensity and aggression. I have to say though that I don't enjoy it much and can't find what I'd call a "soul" in the music. Weakling do all the right things a BM band do: the album has a murky atmosphere and a slightly muddy production and the vocalist is heart-rendingly screechy but I get the impression that this is the kind of all-extremely-technical instrumental riff-based epic alternative prog-metal album that once upon a time fellow San Francisco band Metallica could have pulled off before they recorded their self-titled album which for better and for worse propelled that lot on a different trajectory. I suspect that had Weakling continued they would have developed a much more distinctive sound and style while keeping their aggression and deep intense approach and I assume the band would play around with the black metal elements of the music instead of observing them with strict reverence.

Clocking in at close to 80 minutes with the music so full-on and relentless, though it isn't especially fast generally, this album can be an exhausting journey. Track 2 alone takes up 20 minutes - phew! There is hardly space to take a breath before the band plunges straight into one of quite a few long instrumental passages. Even the quieter, slower moments on the album can be draining. It's all very well to sound like your anger and emotions are very concentrated to the nth degree but when the whole recording is like this for nearly 80 minutes, you're going to lose listeners who reach their pain thresholds quickly.

An original version of this review appeared in Issue 15 (2007) of The Sound Projector which is now out of print.