Release DetailsLABEL Coroner Records
RELEASED ON 10/12/2009
The Sea Of See Through Skins
posted on 11/2009 By:
One of the characteristics of tardive dyskenesia is the inability to stop spastic, sudden, and uncontrollable movements that occur for no purposeful reason, commonly due to taking certain antipsychotic drugs. I bet that can make for some interesting dinner theatre at the salad bar, but in a musical sense, it describes many of our favorite twitching math metal bands. Lots of Hacride, Textures, even some Soul Of A New Machine-era Fear Factory comes to mind (“Leechmaster” specifically), and of course the masters of the game, Meshuggah, all of whom feature those now familiar start/stop, seizure inducing polyrhythms we’ve all grown to love or hate. Maybe it was just a matter of time before a band actually named themselves Tardive Dyskenesia, and as far as this Greek five-piece is concerned, they couldn’t have picked a better moniker.
The Sea Of See Through Skins, despite featuring one of the weirdest album titles I can recall in a long time, is a pretty cut-out example of math metal that blends the usual amount of crunch and stomp with a decent amount of melody, sometimes coming across as a slightly more aggressive, chaotic Gojira mixed with Losa, and an occasional touch of modern rock. A lot of the time, like on tracks such as “Complicity”, the band seems to be in a permanent state of breakdown, and “Downfall” tumbles effortlessly into one hell of a catchy groove before switching the tempo up, down, and back up again through various kick ass segues. The dynamic elements they apply manage to keep things moderately interesting since they rarely lock into any sort of repetition for very long, staying complicated, but not confusing, and never very violent.
While it’s fair to say they really do wear their influences boldly on their sleeves, what they might lack in personal identity they definitely attempt to make up for in spirit. Instrumental “Ask E Sea” is an unusual standout for incorporating almost the exact same tempo throughout, which works extremely well in this instance, serving as an effective break from the normally haphazard song structures. But it’s just a little discouraging how so much of this album sounds similar to Jacob Jocham’s Textures (since he had a major hand in the production), and how so much of it completely flies by without sticking at all. The riffs are all so terribly derivative that despite the furor and expertise of their execution, the memory factor drops incredibly due to the distracting familiarity of a good 85% of this disc. You could literally throw on any of the bands I’ve mentioned in this review and hear a similarity so striking, you’d swear it would have to be a subconscious accident. I only wish I was exaggerating, because these guys are really good.
Although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in the metal world it can bury you in stone damn fast, and for a band as obviously talented and energetic as Tardive Dyskenesia, it would suck for them to wind up just another short-lived face in the crowd. I'm afraid that’s where they’re headed, but hopefully they’ll pull out of it because it sounds like they have a lot of raw ability at their disposal. I’ll keep my ear out for ‘em in the future, but for now, the replay value is low.
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