It would appear I’ve had this one for ten years now. I suspect it might have managed to get through at least one-or-two previous attempts to streamline my collective. The ability for this album to survive might reflect my soft-spot for (extreme?) metal: Metallica and Megadeth were amongst my first true (music) loves.
It is slightly harder to place than a lot of other things, but not because of it’s overwhelming inventiveness, simply because it’s metal, but it picks and chooses. The production is sleek and clean, well balanced, very professionally done, if amazingly boring.
The music is very professional, too. (is competent a nicer world?) It always stays within metal, but picks and choses from variable cups of extremities (melodic death metal, death metal, thrash, prog, etc.). Having said that, it’s not unfocused – it’s very much ‘itself’ without being able to identify whatever that is. To me, I suppose, the closest thing is a less relentless variation on The Black Dahlia Murder.
Having said that, The Black Dahlia Murder are made not only by their brutality but by their relentlessness – they don’t wait for you, they demand you pay attention. They’re an incredible band, with a great vocalist, and that’s why they’re not about to be chucked. But, while this comparison may be unfair in some ways (and very fair is others), I have to ask myself this:
Since I know I enjoy The Black Dahlia Murder so much, will I ever go to something that is very competent, well played, well produced, quite well written, but ultimately lacks of the personality (awesomeness) and sense of grandisoty of TBDM?
Ultimately, no. This leaves because it is good, but not good enough. It is, alas, ever so slightly too generic and will always come second to TBDM.
I write this while only on the fourth song – Elegy – and it’s end takes forever. Just fuck off already. 9 minutes, plonking piano? Sad, quiet end. Nah. Not in the middle of an 11 track album, not for me. In the end, it goes back to what The Cat in Red Dwarf once remarked, ‘I’d go with Betty, but I’d always be thinking about Wilma.’