Siege of Amida Records
April 7th, 2014
Release length: 33:18
With a label that has been unleashing plenty of pain recently, Brutality Will Prevail is definitely the odd band out. Suspension of Consciousness immediately fools those unaware of who they are (myself included) by their artwork that screams early nineties Black Metal, or just poorly hand-drawn Death Metal, especially given the band’s name. When you take all this in and even note some songs under the two minute mark, you could also expect a little Grindcore thrown in. “Delirium” ushers in an surprisingly bleak landscape that carries into “Tower of Silence” seamlessly. As the instruments ring in, it becomes clear this group is none of the above, but actually Hardcore, and one that isn’t all that impressive either. Much of the performance is simply boring. Uninspiring slower paced music, constant builds that never pay off, and weak breakdowns. When the speed picks up, the drums really shine through here, as well as other tracks. It adds life to the otherwise lifeless sounding performance that can even be felt in the shouting vocals. The clean singing that hits in this section, however, is just terribly off-key, coming off like a sick cat moaning in a pathetic attempt for attention. Sadly, this sets up much of what’s to follow.
While “Abandon” does cater to that slower speed, it does have some key differences. The chorus has a simple hook that adds a little extra life, and the clean singing in the background is layered with the deeper shouting, giving it more of a gang chant vibe that is commendable but still not that impressive. At two minutes and twenty-five seconds in, the music has the effect of a record slowing, giving way to a trudging breakdown that shows traces of Doom Metal in the mix, coming off like a whole other brief song that goes nowhere instead of a Doom Metal-laden breakdown. “Pray for Cleansing” is a mid-tempo cut that is a bit more mellow. The clean and shouting vocals are layered once more, and the catchy, simpler chorus gives the sensation of confusion. While the music seems to be geared towards more of a Punk Rock style, the vocals and changes in tempo suggest some members trying to keep this within the Hardcore realm. Even “La Mascara Mortuoria” wraps up the album on that lighter note, at times even giving way to what sounds like Alternative Rock riffs and vocals, all of which contradict nearly everything the band has done up to this point.
And then you get some songs that are like a musical experiment that got terribly out of hand. “Ritual” finds some additional keyboard effects that leave you with a mixture between that aforementioned Punk Rock approach with Space Rock. The latter of those two continues with similar effects on the clean singing during “Escapist” which, of course, changes direction about a minute and a half in. Again, the singing sounds horrible, and is felt throughout the track, but ends as more of a tried-and-true Hardcore offering. When the music shifts, you get this commanding presence with vocals that tread into a Post-Hardcore realm that kind of conflict with the attitude the music and shouting vocals bring with them. “Burden of Love” seems to try to blend in some Doom Metal as well, a style that shows up from time-to-time through the release. The harsher vocal harmonies are as atrocious as the clean singing, but the music itself is actually pretty good despite being more a paint-by-numbers template for the style.
What really saves Suspension of Consciousness in any way is some of the naturally faster tracks, and not the songs that get a random burst of speed along the line. “Martyr-Anxiety” finds a great deal of intensity for the first minute. Even the shouting vocals pick up a little extra life. Sadly, the next forty-nine seconds are an extensive mediocre breakdown with clashing shouting vocals and effects after a sizeable building bridge towards the aforementioned longer conclusion. “Back to the Earth” is a hostile piece that changes gears right into the Grindcore field. The largely chugging riffs with brief hooks work with the downtuned instruments, and the two-step Hardcore piece towards the end is bled into nicely with an infectious drum rhythm. Sadly these are the only two tracks really worth their weight, but even that isn’t saying much.
Suspension of Consciousness is one hell of a rough listen to get through, especially if you go in under the impression of a Death Metal or Black Metal group. Even after a number of spins and looking past all that, this album can literally be described as a Hardcore clusterfuck. Deceitful packaging, terrible clean singing, mediocre shouting, boring music (unless played fast), the introduction of non-suiting genres or styles, conflicts from indecisions at to if going in a Hardcore or Rock direction, all of this simply coming off like a band that has no idea what it even wants to be. There are very few redeeming qualities to the album, and those are only the naturally faster tracks that are fairly limited in time and branching out. You could argue this release is more of an Experimental Hardcore offering and that it’s meant to sound this way for one reason or another, but even the most extreme of Experimental or Avant-Garde groups have some sense of path they try to travel, whereas this just sounds amateurish and disrespectful to nearly every brand of music the group incorporates. It’s like the members heard a bunch of songs and decided they want to be all of that in just over thirty minutes. Suspension of Consciousness is the prime example of a young upstart being picked up way too early in their career, debuting with an absolute mess that Siege of Amida Records probably didn’t bargain for, and one simply not worth your time at all.
01. Delirium 1:34
02. Tower of Silence – 3:31
03. Abandon – 3:11
04. Martyr-Anxiety – 1:49
05. Pray for Cleansing – 3:23
06. Ritual – 1:45
07. Escapist – 4:03
08. Celephais – 1:49
09. Back to Earth – 1:45
10. Burden of Love – 3:17
11. La Mascara Mortuoria – 1:37
12. Suspension of Consciousness – 5:35
|Initial Pressing Score: 1.5/10