The Insight Eye
posted on 7/2007 By:
Reviewing a technical death metal album is a tricky proposition for me. The musically-inclined (and attention-deficient) parts of my brain generally leave me fawning over the accomplished musicianship and complex arrangements that typify the genre. On the other hand, my sensible side respects bands that are able to craft cohesive musical statements without indulging in too much technical wankery. Obviously, these competing expectations set the bar rather high for any technical death release. Illogicist ultimately fall somewhere in between these extremes, delivering an album that packs a healthy dose of virtuosity tempered by an appropriate level of restraint and groove.
With the release of The Insight Eye, Illogicist join a burgeoning Willowtip roster where they reside, stylistically, somewhere in the neighborhood of ex-label mates Necrophagist and Ion Dissonance. These contemporary comparisons are overshadowed, however, by the sizable debt Illogicist owe to Sound of Perseverance-era Death. Although it may seem unfair to reduce a band’s influences to a single album, the similarities here are positively overwhelming. From the vocal approach to the production values and several points in between, The Insight Eye deviates only marginally from the blueprint laid out by Chuck Schuldiner and company in the late 1990s. Nevertheless, Illogicist have taken a major step forward here, given the murky production and somewhat homogenous compositions that detracted from 2004’s Subjected.
For those unfamiliar with the band’s sound, Illogicist play a mid-paced brand of technical death, wholly lacking the relentless blastbeats commonly employed by speedier acts within the genre (Anata, Cryptopsy, Necrophagist, etc). If speed for speed’s sake is your bag, this may be an issue. For others, Marco Minnemann’s blast-free, yet superb drumming provides ample space in which the busy guitar work of Diego Ambrosi and Luca Minieri can breathe. This isn’t to say that The Insight Eye lacks brisk moments entirely, but the album certainly isn’t defined by its speed. I’m not one to ramble on about specific tracks, but I defy fans of latter-day Death to listen the opening (title) track without being compelled to give the whole damn album a shot.
At the end of the day, Illogicist have created a technically impressive album that doesn’t feel forced or overwrought. Though the band frequently overpays homage to their forefathers, I’m not sure it even matters in the final analysis. This is a solid album that is worthy of your attention.
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