posted on 2/2008 By:
If you drove anywhere in Chicago from 2005 through 2006, you may have been lucky enough to have pulled up along side of me at a red light and witnessed the hilarity just a few feet to the left or right of you. The windmilling. A steering wheel for a snare drum. Screaming out my tightest-pair-of-leather-pants John K. impressions into my phone, leaving random voicemails. I was blaring Empires Of The Worlds at unhealthy volumes every other day for a whole year and was becoming an embarrassment for it. That's something that you never recover from. That has got to be one of the most razor sharped affairs that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. So I kept the gauze and peroxide close at hand as I counted down the days until their third attempt on my life.
Biomechanical are, in my humble opinion, about as flawless as you will find a progressive thrash outfit to be. "Pantera, meets Judas Priest, meets shapes and angles, meets substance abuse" is the short, simple, straight to the point version of the sound that they manifest. Throw Andy Sneap at the dials and faders of this stellar musicianship, as with Empires..., and you have something so full of life that you can taste blood. You can feel the warmth on your face when you turn it up on high. That album is totally jigsaw puzzle, with all pieces falling into place.
So how to up the ante in '08? Give the clone a new face. A new temperature. A new taste. A new heart? No. These ten new compositions have all the entrails aligned just the way they were left in '05. If it wasn't for a drastic make-over in sound, this could have been Empires' companion disc. Easily. Even the synth-orchestral intros/outros/passages are just an ivory shy of identical in all their bombast. I only favor the latter because I can hear e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in there. Sneap opened up and separated the instruments with surgical detail. Every twisted riff and harmonic fill feels like razors, and the rhythm section sounds like the hands that hold them. Production. Songwriting. Musicianship. 6.6.6. But in the case of Cannibalised, I deduct points when I have to practically remix an album myself with a car stereo equalizer. Which means take all the bass out and pray these guys don't palm-mute the strings, because that act alone blurs out anything that comes immediately after, and since Biomechanical song structures turn on a dime, I feel cheated when I'm left guessing what came next. This might work for funeral doom, but not for this brand of crack smoking progressive metal. And what about those drums......sad. The kicks sound like wooden spoons striking pillows, and all of the toms sound like they were tuned to the same pitch and played underwater. Once again, robbed of what sounds like an incredible f*cking performance. There are incredible f*cking performances all over the place, but ear fatigue gets the best of me when I have to listen hard for the details from underneath these instruments tackling themselves. The only advantage to having mixed this album in mud is when you notice that the dive-bomb riffs in the title track, and the guitar bottoming-out in "Slow The Poison", actually leave an aural residue. There's a tiny bit of redemption in that. This sound of sonic sludge works best when the tempo slows and the guitar strings breathe, but since that's only a small fraction of what this machine does, I'm left aggravated.
So for better, and for worse, Cannibalised is the sound of Biomechanical devouring itself (which is fitting considering that four-fifths of the band split post-recording, leaving John K. to reform). If you can get past the spastic blur when looking inside of this dirty window of an album, you'll get what you came for, but it is truly exhausting doing it time after time.
Sneap for president.
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