Release DetailsLABEL Black Market Activities
RELEASED ON 1/23/2007
This Is Your Pig's Portrait
Despite Nate Johnson (Burnt by the Sun, Premonitions of War) being in the ranks, The_Network botch (pun intended) their first impression with opener “We Are The Network.” Brandishing a double vocal attack consisting of sloppy, nasally screams and guttural growls over a simple bass pattern, I was afraid of what I’d gotten myself into with This Is Your Pig’s Portrait. Luckily, it does get better, but still fails to rise above mediocrity.
The fact that The_Network are a Black Market Activities band is enough to go on in regards to their sound, which is abrasive, technically-minded -core. Though much of TIYPP is at least somewhat intricate, the musicianship isn’t overly impressive. At times they utilize the stop/start technique like in “Faith in Lust” and others, but while the dissonance itself isn’t irksome, the higher-pitched screams are revolting and will continue to grate on the nerves as the album unfolds. The songwriting isn’t the sharpest either – the sudden transition to acoustic guitar and clean vocals during “Innocent V. State” is an unexpected, awkward outro since it belies their M.O. so early on. Otherwise, the songwriting is par for the course. Songs such as “Prison Letters” and “Play Dead” breeze by, and because the 16 tracks clock in at 38 minutes, you can infer that brevity is one of the band’s defining characteristics. Unfortunately, The_Network are too nondescript to create much of an impact, even with guest star power that includes Dulong (Cannae), Kozowyk (The Red Chord), and Mckenney (Backstabbers Incorporated).
Of course This Is Your Pig’s Portrait has its moments – “Canon Figure” and “End Transmission,” especially – but considering the album as a whole, it’s rather weak. For more positive results, check out their labelmates Architect (All Is Not Lost) and Gaza (I Don’t Care Where I Go When I Die). They’re both much better.