Fallujah – Dreamless

In a twist of irony, Dreamless goes about to create a dream-like state, with spacey riffs, and electronic tracks, and makes an album whose entire premise has been done before, and done better. Fallujah has gone much more into the djent category, to the point where I would almost say this is more djent than tech death. Rarely do the guitars have that monstrous growl you find in death metal, mostly residing on a clean, gutteral, mechanical burps you find in djent. While there is plenty of technicality, I feel like any melodic composition is thrown out the window in favor of atmosphere, and by atmosphere I mean ambient chugging. It doesn’t feel like a tech death album, or at the very least, feels like a tech death album that went through the entire Nuclear Blastify process, instead of showing any kind of resistance. Any time you have that many guest artists for the vocals on a death metal album, you know something is not right. Dreamless feels like manufactured product, made specifically to be sold to the masses.

And that wouldn’t be so bad if the ideas on the album were at least somewhat coherent. Tracks like Adrenaline sound like the band picked what fucking ideas they thought of in the shower, and threw any that sounded good in the track, without thinking on whether it made a coherent song. And to be fair, in the most superficial level possible, it definitely “sounds good”. This is one of those albums that doesn’t really have a defining lovable aspect to it, or any reason for me to heavily praise it, but I’m sure if I listened to this as just background music for uh, idunno, whatever the fuck people who listened to the Black Dahlia Murder one time and then posted on facebook about how they’re ordering the satanic bible from amazon prime do for fun, I would probably very much enjoy it.

Dreamless lacks any sort of depth or replay value that’s required for a great album, but for a commercial product I can’t really fault it for having it’s, well, faults. It’s a pretty nice album. It’s the epitome of a band selling the fuck out, and basically represents a lot of what is wrong with commercial technical death metal. But it’s nice enough.


6/10

Haken – Affinity

Very rarely do I listen to an album more than twice when reviewing it. This is almost entirely due to the fact that I’m massively stubborn, and very rarely does my opinion of an album change after first listen. I can count on one hand the number of times it’s changed drastically (three). Affinity is an exception, however not quite to the point of me being able to say I loved my listening experience. Initially I was bored by the generic chord changes, cheesy atmosphere, and the overall sound of a dime a dozen prog album. I gave it a 3/10 and moved on. A month later however, here I am, giving it over double the score I would’ve given it at the time of initial review. Have I changed? Not really. I got a bit of an appreciation for “generic” chord progressions, but other than that I’ve mostly stayed the same. The one thing that has changed is that I didn’t go into it desperately wanting to hate it. Any album that is labeled a generic prog metal/rock is almost always an instant dislike for me, and considering Haken has been a poster boy for generic, over the top, and cheesy modern prog, I went into the album wanting to hate it, and that’s what I got. On second chance however, I have come to appreciate it for what it is, while still maintaining that it has some serious flaws.

The two biggest elements that have been added to Haken’s repertoire are heavy djent and electronic influences, though RateYourMusic apparently disagrees, because prog fanboys are retarded. While on the surface those aspects seem like not only typical sellout tropes for prog bands, but also should be a massive annoyance on the listener. And to a degree that’s right. On The Architect these elements are combined into an extremely long opus that’s full of variety, but none of it enjoyable or even remotely worth making a track that long for. I very much actually enjoyed tracks like 1985 and Earthrise, despite their over the top and corny as all fuck faux 80s aesthetic (hence the faux retro cover). And the djenty, off rhythmic aspects of The Endless Knot actually makes for a killer track to bob your head to. Hell, generally speaking I actually enjoyed most of the fake aesthetic and djent aspects of this album. Sans the weird brostep like drop on Endless Knot (which actually prevented it from being the best track on the album), even the electronic aspects were handled with some appropriate restraint. But The Architect just takes all of what Haken was doing right, dressed it up in a clown suite, strapped to a gigantic Garfield balloon, and sent it off in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with a sign attached reading “kill me”.

However overall, while I still can’t really recommend this as something I really like, I can see why people like it, and if anything present a precedent for me not to automatically shit on any modern prog that doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Because just because you didn’t change the shape of music, doesn’t mean you didn’t release an acceptable album, even if that’s the supposed purpose of your genre.


6.75/10

ERRA – Drift

Ok fine, I’ll stop playing league to post something, but only because I’m on tilt and don’t want to get demoted.

Imagine Periphery, except 10x more generic, with superficial technicality (because I guess they wanted credibility or something????), and a vocalist that somehow manages to be even more generic than the music the band produces itself. I actually amazed, normally when I go into a record thinking I’m going to like it, I have a hard time giving it a bad score. But fuck me sideways, these guys pulled it off. I guess the later half of the record is “better”, if I can really call it that, but that’s more to a testament to how mind mindbogglingly boring the first half is. If you have heard a progressive metalcore album, you have heard this album before. The djent aspects seem to be there just because apparently that’s a requirement if you’re going to have -core and progressive in your genre tags. The djenty riffs have no real rhyme or reason to them, sounding more like they’re just trying to give a vague sense of trendiness, than any sort of actual rhythm or structure any good djent band creates. To be honest I just looked at porn the entire second half of the album, because I figured I wouldn’t get through it any other way. But I couldn’t actually find anything good, so I basically just spent the time looking at shitty deviantart tier r34 drawings while listening to music I hated. So congrats ERRA, you made looking at porn a miserable experience. Now please chug somewhere else where nobody can hear you.


4/10

Orbit Culture – Rasen

It’s pretty much impossible to make melo death, groove metal, and a touch of djent to come together into an outstanding work of music. But bless their hearts these guys try. The odds are so stacked against them that they don’t succeed in making this album anything more than listenable, but I’m giving them some bonus points for effort. For free on bandcamp cancer metal, this is pretty dang good.


6.25/10

Shortstacks – 3/3/2016

Only got two for you guys today, I’ll see if I can do more tomorrow. One of them was almost a full review, but I figured it was just a bit too short to warrant a spot. The batch today doesn’t really have any stinkers, just complete mediocrity, and one band that has potential, but hasn’t quite realized it yet. So without further adieu, here’s today’s Shortstacks.


cover

Mouth – Mouth

I feel like there’s a lot of potential for greatness here, but some things just hold them back. Mouth shows they have a fantastic knowledge of riffing in the first two tracks, but that doesn’t show up anywhere else on the album, offering instead of put out very droney, sludgy tracks. During those tracks they also demonstrate they can build an atmosphere, but especially on From Room / Communion of Her it just goes on way too long.

The shorter tracks are definitely the strengths here. They mostly consist of forward moving, muddying tracks that you can bob your head to, coupled with absolutely fantastic drum work. The drums really are the best aspect of this album. When used right, beyond having finesse, they move the pieces forward, to the point where every beat feels like one giant step, creating a driving force. However the guitars are more inconsistent. While yes, there are some pretty good riffs to behold here, the guitars mostly drone on one chord / “riff” (if you can really call it that). That can work in many circumstances, but in an album where half of its length is basically dedicated to those drones (over half actually), and the fact that in many cases they’re coupled with these softer vocals make the whole thing sound more lazy than atmospheric.

I enjoyed this, however I think the band has some growing up to do. This is only their debut, so I’m sure if they continue they’re grow into a fantastic sound. For now Mouth has potential, but is still largely an obviously amateur production.

6.25/10


Cover

Typhus – Typhus

You know an album is gonna be good when one of their track titles spells fixation with two Xs. Basically just generic deathcore with djent shit thrown in so that the band can call it “progressive”. It’s got this pseudo Egyptian thing going on that I don’t really get, but it doesn’t matter because it’s never visible on the album for more than a few seconds at at time. Inoffensive, but not worth anyone’s time.

4/10