The Empires of the Worlds
posted on 5/2005 By:
Imagine going back ten to fifteen years and snatching Pantera, Judas Priest and Queensryche (fuck it, while you’re there grab Nevermore too) and preserving them together in some of that Han Solo-freezing carbonite crap. Now imagine that this metal-sicle was thawed in the year 2020 where the original ingredients assimilated their sounds into a single organism and further combined with apocalyptic bombast. The resulting beast would sound a great deal like London’s Biomechanical.
The Empires of the Worlds, the band’s second effort, is a sure bet to be a breakthrough for Biomechanical, in large part because the band has taken several tried and true, primary colors of metal and combined them in a way that sounds modern and fresh. Their thick, crunching riff work is highly reminiscent of old school Pantera, and John. K’s vocals also sound a lot like Anselmo’s roar and higher registered scream. But the band also owes much to the progressive leanings of Queensryche (especially vocally), and the straight up metal of later Judas Priest and Nevermore. In and of itself, nothing described so far is too far out of the ordinary, but when combined with flourishes of keyboards and dizzying film score orchestration, the sound takes on a whole different dynamic. The band effectively straddles the divide between classic metal and modern extremity, and the result is a comfortably familiar sound presented with a Strapping Young Lad-styled high volume chaos. The interplay between the metal and orchestration/effects gives The Empires of the Worlds a dense and chaotic feel, making it difficult to completely digest in a single sitting.
The band provides a good balance of thrashy, aggressive moments and more progressive and dynamic passages in each song, and does so without sounding disjointed. “Enemy Within” sets the tone perfectly, opening with some futuristic effects before the band launches into a barrage of rolling bass drum, sweeping riffs, and soaring vocals, all the while being supported by subtle electronic effects. Other stand out tracks are “DNA Mestasis” and the galloping “Survival” and “Truth Denied”. But The Empires of the Worlds’ death blow is definitely the monstrous “Absolution”, a song that spans the last four tracks of the album. Its dynamic arrangements and epic nature calls to mind comparisons as a futuristic offspring of the legendary “Suite Sister Mary”(except, like, minus the dead nun). The vocals on this album are stunning--John K has harnessed an impeccable channeling of Anselmo and Tate, with a little Warrel Dane and Ripper Owens as well. The metal is aggressive but intelligent, and the orchestration and effects add a new dimension of intensity that makes all the difference. To complete the package, Andy Sneap’s production is top class. The scary thing is that I don’t think this will be Biomechanical’s best album. It’s a great one, and there is very little with which to find fault, but there are a few isolated moments when its otherworldly presentation overshadows entirely worldly songwriting. There aren’t many of these moments, just enough to suggest that minor adjustments can be made, and I believe that in a couple of years this band could be a world beater. But don’t wait, The Empire of the Worlds is one hell of a steamroller and entirely worth your money.
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