The Thin Line Between
posted on 7/2008 By:
I have created the perfect Neuraxis album. It was only a click, drag, and drop away. I'm thinking about calling it Trilateral Thin Lines, or maybe Stuck Between A Live And Dead Progression.....maybe not. We'll leave it at How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Week 8 - Quality Time With Furious French-Canadians. With possibly the subtitle of With All Due Respect To The Albums That Preceded Because Without Them We Wouldn't Be Where We Are Today, But I Do Have A Special Place In My Heart For Trilateral Progression. It has kind of a ring to it, no? I'm taking all of those definitive moments from their last three outings and having my way with them. Why am I doing this? Because frankly, The Thin Line Between is just not enough.
But it's not starvation either. Far from it. For starters, if there's one thing you can count on with Neuraxis, it's a revolving door for band members that gets more turns than the volume knob in my car, when my car is full of civilians (non-metalheads). And yet this machine is still very much the same, despite some newer moving parts like a guitarist from Quo Vadis and a vocalist from Atheretic. The riffs are all Neuraxis patented, no surprise. However, gone is the frantic and attention deficit songwriting of Trilateral Progression. I miss that unfocused charm. Be it that DM is cold and mechanical by its very nature, it was nice to hear Trilateral give it a beating heart. Dare I say that it sounded "fun". Here and now, there is a fine focus on twisting and turning, and over the course of ten tracks it begins to feel a bit formulaic, and not so much fun, but their knack for obliteration through melody is a trait that won't easily go away. Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde.
Of the several stand-out moments, there are a couple of them that you can bank on entirely, from the killing opening riff of lead off track "Darkness Prevails" (classic), and two tracks ahead into "Versus", the dark and shining star of this entire affair. "Versus" is a four-and-a-half-minute definitive Neuraxis moment. Its characteristics are synonymous with their name: the opening fretboard descent with guitars hovering over high notes and then diving down repeatedly with quick calculation, made concrete with a straight forward double-kick and snare march, to the time-flipped reward at about two minutes in. Most importantly, no filler. My argument with The Thin Line Between is all about the fifty percent of it that takes a backseat to the other half that rides up front. There is an ample supply of stock songwriting that buries their thin line under all of those minutes. I use the word "stock" in the best possible way; alot of these warehouse riffs by any other name would raise eyebrows and throw hair, but they've provided an alibi inside of their previous full-length that says that they were there in 2005, and as a result puts them in the shadows of their former selves for the time being. Vocally, I miss the variation from top-of-throat rasp to deep-inside-the-chest guttural found on their previous efforts. Despite the monotony of the new approach, the mix does lend some flattery by keeping it on par with the surrounding instruments, in turn making it its own instrument, and not pushing it into and over other's territory. Rob Milley and new recruit, William Seghers, are extremely talented guitarists and the production highlights that fact by granting them the razor's edge, e.g., when they show their knives inside of "Deviation Occurs". It would have been sin to have flooded that out. As a plus for those of you paying attention to the six-string circus, the solos here take flight above and beyond anything i've heard previously, while still playing to the strengths of the song; search out the evidence at 1:45 into "Wicked". Tasteful. As a whole, this offering, and the production of it, were made for each other.
The thin line between a resolution and a new religion. They're riding on it. This isn't quite the cult that I wanted it to be, but it would still be criminal to pass it up.
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