The Great Deceiver
posted on 5/2004 By:
The first time I heard The Great Deceiver I didn’t even know who Tomas Lindberg was. My first exposure to his vocals were a memorable one, and now the band that opened me up to the Lindberg experience returns with their sophomore effort, Terra Incognito. Lindberg’s new efforts are always the perfect blend of At The Gates and whatever else the new band is supposed to be, and TGD is no exception. Their combination of hardcore (the non-gay kind) and Lindberg’s signature sound is a very formidable weapon, and as the title of their first album describes it, “A Venom Well Designed”.
Lindberg’s venomous vocal style is always going to be a standout on any of his albums. Arguably the best vocalist in metal today, he has a way of bringing life to any band with his pure evil energy. This album, unlike A Venom Well Designed, contains some clean vocal moments interspersed over the brutal vocals. I have no idea if they are in fact Lindberg’s, but they sound eerie and they fit well with the style. We’re not talking Killswitch Engage style clean moments or spoken phrases, that would be completely ridiculous with this brutal style of metal-core. They’re more of a half-spoken, barely melodic, quasi-clean vocal. Obviously it’s difficult to explain, but I assure you they work very well, and this comes from a massive hater of pussy-whipped hardcore clean vocals.
The thing that sets this band apart from all of Lindberg’s other bands is their odd, bio-mechanical guitar tone. It includes some intentional feedback sounds and awkward harmonies. This is what causes us to label it as “hardcore”. There are certain bass & drum breakdown moments along with the awkward harmonies that shout out “HARDCORE”, but then there will be a fantastic metal riff that will have you screaming “AT THE GATES”. The song “Marathon Man” is a perfect example of this. It starts out with breakdown-style riff, goes into heavy bass and drums with vocals overlayed, then surprises you with a great metal riff. This is the textbook The Great Deceiver style. One of my main gripes with hardcore is the fact that the breakdowns are so goddamn boring. TGD manages to breathe life into the breakdowns with innovative chord placement and interesting drumming, rather than the boring (stupid, trite, redundant, moronic, etc) breakdowns that so many greenhorn hardcore bands try to include.
Another thing that lets you know that this album is NOT yet another ATG clone is simply in the emotion portrayed in each song. The lyrics and themes translate into a completely different overall feel to Terra Incognito than what you would get from an At The Gates album or even a Nightrage album. The feeling you get is a little less angry and a little more thoughtful, while showing zero signs of weakness. Rather than balls-out aggression, the album makes you feel a little more contemplative, perfect for the enlightened metalhead. The aggression is there, but so is the thought process. Rather than being dark 100% of the time, there is a good amount of bittersweet thrown in.
I keep wanting to find a Tomas Lindberg band that I don’t like just so I can sound like I’m not a fanboy, but I truly cannot think of a single thing that Lindberg has used his Midas touch on that I don’t like. Obviously Terra Incognito is no exception. I have so many good things to say about this album, I had better stop before I lose all control. Only one or two tracks that didn’t quite ring true for me keep this album from being perfect. Simply put, The Great Deceiver is the band that saved hardcore for me, end of story. Don’t doubt the power of the Lindberg.
Faust in Exile - Good example of the sparse clean vocal moments on the album with a nice, eerily thoughtful structure and innovative breakdowns
Today - Bittersweet mixes with pure aggression quite well
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