Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 4/5/2005
posted on 3/2005 By:
It never ceases to amaze me how telling band names are these days. What could Nargaroth be other than a misanthropic, dark hearted black metal band? Anaal Nathrakh? It doesn’t take a member of Mensa to figure out what Digested Flesh or Prostitute Disfigurement might sound like, or indeed a band like As Hope Dies. While I am no doubt pleased that this “Instant ID” ethic has its clear benefits (i.e. making the unenviable task of navigating through generic goregrind/metalcore that much easier for me), one is invariably left wishing that bands were a little more discerning with their monikers. Before I even agreed to review this record, I approached it with extreme trepidation- already the name Kryoburn arouses a whole stream of negative implications that reek of the contrived varnish that encrusts much of todays anodyne, faceless mall-metal. Immediately a host of bands came to mind: Arkangel, Darkane, Konkhra, overpolished, ultramodern tripe that I have never cultivated a taste for.
Dear Belial, how I wish I were wrong! This record is exactly the modern groovy crossover thrash that I was anticipating, a seething and dense, but hopelessly generic affair that falls far short of the lofty heights it aspires to and the inspirations it attempts to emulate. From opener “Transience” Kryoburn’s influences are painfully obvious, almost insultingly so. The stop-start, syncopated, palm-muted riffing recalls Demanufacture era Fear Factory, as does the clean vocal/melodic hook that is wedged between the mechanical brutality. 03:48 into the track, following an awkwardly placed ambient interlude, the band attempt to lift a passage straight from Meshuggah’s Chaosphere playbook, the chugging, hefty barrage of riffage and precise, urgent rhythms recalling “New Millenium Cyanide Christ”.
“Singularity” continues the blatant idolatry, the frantic riffing and conscientiously calculated meters bringing to mind a less dense , less maniacal Strapping Young Lad. “Break Away” could easily have been a b-side on a recent Fear Factory single, flaunting a dark melodicism in both the riffs and the effect-soaked cybernetic clean vocals, while “Against My Evil” exhibits a prevalent affinity towards Pantera in its meaty, staccato slabs of guitar. Much of the time, Kryoburn reminds me a little of bands like Skinlab and Pissing Razors updated for modern palettes (i.e. more technically advanced, with a trendier range of influences)- they are similarly derivative, similarly bland, similarly unnecessary and redundant.
Ultimately, it is their copycat ethic that proves to be Kryoburn’s undoing. While (godly) bands like Impaled or Warhammer are so blatantly tongue-in-cheek with their emulation that one instinctively approaches their music with a grain of salt, KRYOBURN are clearly intent on being regarded as forerunners on the precipice of super-modern thrash. Yet, they lack the unhinged, genuinely depraved lunacy that makes Strapping Young Lad so captivating, the innate sensitivity for haunting atmospherics and musicality that makes the best Fear Factory material listenable, the forceful, insistent raw intensity that has inducted Pantera into a class of its own. While there are certainly a handful of bright spots on offer (the juxtaposition of crushing, melodic riffing with spectral, understated synths on 4:50 of “Beneath Desire” is simplistic, but highly effective), the songwriting is generally haphazard and grossly underdeveloped, as well as childishly linear and embryonic. The formula is almost offensively straightforward- chug-a-chug-chug/clean vocal hook/chug-a-chug-chug/ambient break/CHUG-CHUG-CHUG bridge/huge refrain of clean vocal hook, repeat ad nauseam. To make matters worse, the production is just as cold and lifeless as a Fear Factory recording, replete with triggered drums, stripped of any warmth or personality.
As a result, this feels more like a concerted and conscientiously studied facsimile of said bands than the visceral blast of energy that the band envisions it to be. It is remarkable to think that Candlelight, once a primarily black metal-oriented imprint, has evolved to a point where signing a band like Kryoburn is commercially feasible. This is an exercise in stale mimicry, and it is my hope that Kryoburn will, at this point, endeavor to cultivate an individual identity, as opposed to a composite of absurdly obvious parts. I would tell you to avoid this, but I'm guessing the name already dissuaded you from investigating further.
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