First up is the song “Cortical Blindness,” and while it isn’t as intense as I would hope, it’s doing the job. There’s a good deal of speed to this track that I’m bobbingmy head along to, and the shifts between that and the more technical mid-range material are executed well. I’m really enjoying the range of the vocals, which is largely brought on by the obvious enthusiasm in the performance. The mixing of a near shouting guttural to a lower mid-range style works well with the lighter audio tone of the song, which I expect it is going to be for the rest of the album.
“Contextual Fluctuating” has a pretty catchy start that continuously shifts itself around in speed and complexity for what seems a good thirty seconds. Finally it stops, and the music hammers away at a steady pace. The drumming is leaving me a little less engaged though. It isn’t bad, it’s that it sounds thin, which isn’t really filling the music too much. The bass is also incredibly loud here, something I noticed towards the end of “Cortical Blindness” as well. Again, there’s not much intensity, but the music itself is still catchy. The guitar solo is kind of impressive at first, but quickly loses you. However, it does get a bit better as it goes on. The deeper snares really are a nice touch to the lighter tone of the music as well. This is another fine track that I really did enjoy.
Next is “Obscure Mind Stasis,” and right away it’s on the faster side, and even more intense. There are plenty of blast beat fueled sections throughout, and a heavier focus on deeper tones, as well as on the bass kicks of the drum kit. There’s a little more complexity in the chords that coincides with the speed, though the guitar solo is very brief and slows things down for no real reason. The bass is also masked a bit, and sounds great with the melodies that the leads do incorporate. Again, I found myself bobbing my head along to the beat, and the general fatigue is gone, replaced with wanting of a deeper sound to the music.
In a way, “Self Exhibition” does kind of answer my prayers. The leads carry a bit of a blackened touch to their melodies at first and, once the introduction ends, it becomes more of what I already experienced, but the bass definitely adds more to the slower sections, becoming more like a traditional guitar than anything else. There are some heavier passages with blistering drumming that is off and on, grabbing me with some deeper music and a much stronger intensity I have been craving since about half way through “Cortical Blindness.” These are very few though, which is a let down, but the slower, catchier rhythms definitely make up for it thanks to the bass. So far, this is easily one of my favorites from the album, and I look forward to hearing it again at some point.
I think I’m going to cut my time off with this album at “Desolation Row.” Things start up with a bit of a slower pace, but the music is some of the richest I’ve heard yet. There’s a good deal of technical material that is enjoyable, but it’s just not pulling me in the same way. Even the blast beat passages aren’t really grabbing ahold. The energy is still there though, and that’s been holding my attention since a little after it started. The guitar solo here is also one of the most impressive on the album, as well as most extensive.
After sitting through about half the album, I can safely say that this is one I’m probably going to pick up at some point. I wasn’t too on board with the lighter audio quality, and I’m still not even this far in. But, I can safely say that I didn’t hear a single song that wasn’t well done. “Desolation Row” was the only one that seemed to drag on, but even that wasn’t too bad. For fans of Progressive Death Metal, I’d definitely suggest this one based on what I heard so far. But, for now, what buzz I had going from this release is already fading, and there is much more to be done before the day can truly draw to an end…
Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records.