Nociceptor: Among Insects

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Nociceptor: Among Insects
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Nociceptor: Among Insects
Technical Groove Metal
Pivotol Rockordings
June 1st, 2011
Release length: 38:02
Myspace
Nociceptor is a band that is starting to make a lot of waves in the Metal underground world for many reasons. This band is known well for Travis Montgomery of Threat Signal being in the group’s ranks, as well as was recorded by him at his home studio. Aside that, the group has been touring with many strong acts in the Metal world such as Tesseract, Nevermore, and even Meshuggah, the latter of which becomes rather ironic upon hearing the album. But, does Nociceptor really have what it takes to take those waves of attention and shift them more into tsunami-like assaults towards the spotlight of Metal fame?

Almost immediately, Among Insects comes off as a blatent knock off of Meshuggah (hence the ironic part in the above statement). While the “Intro” track has some nice Ambience going on and setting up a more mechanical sounding atmosphere to the album that some tracks incorporate through some Industrial effects in the background and the general flow of the music from one track to another, it doesn’t really brace you for the sudden Meshuggah brand Technical Groove Metal carbon copy that kicks the listener right in the nuts. The vocals of the recording are your typical screaming, and the technical guitars and the drumming have no real unique feel to them. All of this is true and feels like you’re popping in ObZen or any other album from their obvious source material in recent years. Of course this isn’t always a bad thing, as there are some entertaining tracks like the opening “Intro” that bleeds into “The Fell”, and the more mechanical headbang worthy song “Botfly”. “Angus McGillicutty” also stands out nicely, but we’ll get to that shortly due to how different it really is. But, despite it’s obvious similarities, Nociceptor does manage to take the music and make it a little more unique.

These unique elements take a little while to kick in. These are the obvious bleeding into one track from another, like “Into” to “The Fell” then into “Emergence” then into “Botfly”. The connections sever at this point, but it’s not the end of this concept as other songs continue the idea. It does add to the overly technical approach and feels a lot more fluid then you would expect. On top of that, you get some vocal harmonizations in the screaming that appear in the track “Botfly”, which also becomes a nice touch, and the random cutting in and out real quick of music or vocals, giving it a modern mechanical feel to go with the atmosphere the “Intro” track set up. However, all of this is absolutely random against an obviously Technical Groove Metal musical backdrop. Had there been more of a solid structure that had flow to it from start to finish, these elements would definitely be a little stronger and mean more to the music. “Angus McGillicuty” does snap things out of the heavy Meshuggah inspiration, and honestly has a richer, less technical approach, more as if on a Hardcore approach with verses that seem to almost bleed with a rap influence that isn’t fully recognized, leaving the album in a very heavy manner that will get the blood pumping from start to finish and really makes for the most exciting and unique track off the entire recording.

But that’s not all. You also get clean singing during the chorus and even some other bridging passages that have vocals, though mainly in the chorus, or not at all. The problem here is that the clean singing is often nothing too spectacular, coming off a little too mellow for the music and sometimes being a bit off key, such as with “Mollusk” during the breakdown that follows this sudden clean sung section. They also feel reather weak too, and sometimes feel like something you would hear on a Demon Hunter recording, except with a rather poor layering job that seems to cause the off-key sound of almost every clean singing section. And, yes, there are breakdowns. This actually is not too bad, they fit with the songs, and don’t appear on all them. The only issue here is that with these breakdowns, the music seems to get a little thinner, and given the rather clear production of the album, the music itself doesn’t necessarily have as strong a bite as it should. Had the guitars been a little deeper, the music would have sounded menacing and punishing against the crippling, commanding screaming vocal approach. The bass does shine through nicely on this release though, being loud enough that you can easily pick it out, and it does add a little edge to the music that it greatly needs.

In the end, Among Insects doesn’t really offer much for the listener. The first four songs tie nicely together, and they come off as enjoyable, slightly unique Technical Groove Metal in the vein of Meshuggah. Of course, that’s about where the listener will draw the line. The actual songs are often not all that impressive, and the unique touches the songs like the clean singing and breakdowns actually only hurt the album by being weaker compared to the stronger, richer screaming vocals and traditional Groove inputs. It’s far from a bad album, and if you’re a fan of Travis Montgomery then you’ll probably appreciate it more then others. “Angus Mcgillicutty” really leaves the album off in a very positive way, really retracting itself from the rest of the material and being a truly enjoyable song far from any Meshuggah references that make up pretty much everything of this release prior to it, and hopefully that song is a sign of the directiont he band will go with their next release. But, until then, Among Insects is mostly well copied material that makes Nociceptor a band worth checking up on due to the promise some tracks have and their ability to have you come back once in a while to hear them, but ultimately come off an EP that will make you just want to listen to Meshuggah.

01. Intro – 2:31
02. The Fell – 4:55
03. Emergence – 0:50
04. Botfly – 5:46
05. Mollusk – 6:01
06. Pornoholocaust – 5:55
07. Cuntagion – 4:38
08. Angus McGillicutty – 7:27
Overall Score: 6/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Pivotol Rockordings.