Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Bellicist - An Eternal Recurrence (2011 Local Band By Request)
Bellicist - An Eternal Recurrence (2011 Local Band By Request) - I thought that this package was actually the Apnea album at first, (but it's alright guys, I understand the world's a tough place with this sinking economy and all) but I was actually quite surprised to find this to be a freshly printed album from a technical death metal band by the name of Bellicist. Though I couldn't really see the cover art on the package, (Don't worry guys, it's always dark. I have other local discs from bands that tell me the same thing.) I found myself looking at the lyrics book to find some very profound and interesting lyrics. I daresay that I got lost in reading the lyrics alone!
But that's not what you want to hear, is it? Of course not. So I'm going to go song by song in only the best of fashions, in order to explain just what this 62:00 surprise that I wasn't expecting, but was more than happy to receive and immediately review, has to offer.
The disc starts out with "Avarice 2:50" and definitely makes me place the band's sound somewhere between Necrophagist and Decapitated. It's certainly as the name implies; technical death metal of a very complex nature. I especially like that the drumming is very well, technical - able to keep the base of the song just right, and the guitar work is definitely decent enough to hold up the package, especially the solo work. The vocals actually have a sort of black/death feel to them, since one is more screechy than the other which is more gravelly. There are also quite a bit of sweeps.
"Insignificant 3:25" is much longer, a track that seems to feature more of a pummeling drum style that I can definitely appreciate. The vocal style goes just right with the song too. if they'd used the screechy vocals there, it would sucked. Many bands make that mistake, however.
A flying solo comes in, and then a breakdown. You all know that I'm not a fan of breakdowns, but the light melody that follows after it is unexpected, and then goes into one big scream of utter rage. Great vocal work follows, and then comes a good solo. This song is definitely death metal over technicality, and the sporadic structure of the song is something to take note of as well.
"Philistines 4:09" starts off with a line from one of my favorite comedians of all time, the immortal George Carlin. Not only was he a great comedian, but he was very damned smart. I have a copy of "When Will Jesus Pass The Pork Chops" and have read it through and through. Only Lewis Black has come close, IMHO.
The song has an interesting riff that keeps a frequent presence, as well as the technical (sometimes progressive) tendencies. The guitar solo is frantic, and there's a slight middle eastern influenced riff that comes right after the breakdown, which goes into technical hell. Then the vocals come back in, and that riff comes back, along with more frantic technicality. A definite trip. This is a mind ripper.
"No Redemption 4:35" starts out interestingly enough, almost like a sort of march. Then a spatial riff opens the vocal lines which come pounding just like always, but I'd have it no other way. Definitely a good groove going on with the drums, and then the sporadity that follows works well enough. A functioning brain is required to understand this at a musical level. There's also this very dark slower portion of the song that just kills. These songs have so much structure that it's tough to keep up. Thank God, I've got ADD! Truly, this is some great technical death metal on par with several of the greats of the genre. It's amazing that three guys can do this.
"Paradox 3:52" sounds incredibly spacey at the beginning, I can hear that early Cynic influence. Or perhaps I'm hearing Atheist? I cannot be for certain, but I think I'll go with Cynic. (Reminds self to go back and listen to Focus) Then a heavier portion comes in, and then it gets quite trippy. A great way to open a song. A dual vocal style continues amongst a driving rhythm. The song slows and has an interesting rhythm that sounds rather dark, this style continues throughout and winds up in a solo. The driving rhythms continue and the song ends rather abruptly.
"Anti-Human Manifesto 5:40" starts out with another good opening riff. There is plenty of potential in this, as the opening of a song is important, and these gentlemen have figured out that songs should actually sound different from each other. I have reviewed label bands who've yet to get this right. The song goes into a sort of sludgy portion, that follows with more technicality. Well, who was expecting that beautiful light melody? I wasn't.
Then there's just some really great technicality that follows. It follows into a slower portion, that goes into another barrage of technicality. The song mysteriously goes into silence halfway in the middle, and then I start to hear the song volume increase ever higher. A solo is now playing. The solo is good, but I'm curious as to why the volume drop and rise in the middle of the song. Is this still the same song? The song ends with some double bass hits. Weird. Then an alarm sounds followed with a quote.
"For Your War 7:45" is a bit longer than the others have been (and this time I hope it's a full song) and the vocal style sounds like me after I've gotten really pissed about something and scream it into an instrumental. This song is actually quite technical however, and doesn't seem to contain much other structure until... oh, nevermind. I'm only 2:43 in. After the solo, there's a nice riff, and then it goes into a very slow and doom influenced clean riff in which some sound effects are playing, but I can't really hear them. Then the clean riff becomes much more pronounced and the band continues their fierce assault, yet more eerier riffing. Yes, I like this one.
Then the song goes into technical chaos, (def. Cynic influenced) and goes back to braising your intestines. A little bit of a breakdown, but I can deal with it. There's an interesting sound effect near the end of this song that sounds quite eerie as well. I like that idea. An otherworldly riff seems to drive the song home. I also hear some tom playing which I like to close the song out.
"Vermin 5:51" starts out pummeling, but also goes into an interesting sort of melody which then goes into technical madness. A solo comes in at full speed, completely unexpected. This is what is meant by extremely complex tech death. Another thing I like about this band is their ability to change tempos so suddenly, as something that sounds like doom/death creeps in around the 5:00 mark. Definitely didn't expect that. But that is what I look for in metal. Something unexpected. Trust me, I already have heard the expected albums years ago. (And I still continue to hear plenty of them today.)
"Antithesis Off 4:30" a rather odd name for a song, starts out with an aural assault, but has a clean riffing in it that is sort of unexpected. The song continues with a technical assault that will definitely please fans of the genre. Then there's a sort of breakdown, which works well on stage. I do like the vocal technique being used, and the bass licks that you can barely hear (but yes, I notice these things.) Then a screaming solo opens the way for doomier riffs and some more vocal punishment. Boom! Song ends.
"The Iscariot Path" starts out with a line from the Bible, a book that I used to love when I was young, than was told by the media and several thousand idealists to hate, and now I start to think it's probably quite an interesting read, regardless of religion. I guess that's part of being a free-thinker, though.
As for the song, it starts out pummeling as you would expect. There's a weird riff style going on during the first part of the song, I thought it interesting. Then after the bible line is spoken, the Cynic style clean riff comes in again. Then I heard a sort of riff that I would definitely hear on a black metal album, but didn't expect to hear it here. It actually has some hardcore influence afterwards, but it seems to work for the song. A gravelly approach follows as the kicks continue to pound. Than the song gets slow, and ultimately goes acoustic. But then it gets pummeling again. Again, hitting me with unexpected things is something I enjoy. (In music anyway, not life. That's something I regret, depending on what I'm being hit with, of course.)
Also, really liking the riff at about the 4:40 mark. Just a really good riff. This song definitely wishes to pound your face off as much as the rest of the album does. But again, I like how it's not drawn into that style. A solo flies from out of nowhere and it's pretty good, certainly longer than the other solos on the disc. The last couple notes drag out with a great melody. This guy can shred. I absolutely fucking love the last part of this song - the riffs, the drums, and the vocals. Great slow pace almost sounds like Amon Amarth on the track, "Amon Amarth." Probably my favorite part of the whole disc, I could play this part back and again several times. Such a great way to end a song.
"To Serve The Pigs 11:11" comes in directly after previous song. There isn't even a break, like it's another part of the song. However, this song starts out much slower and has a sort of sludge sound almost reminding me of the music used in the Doom PC game. Then they decide to throw in the really eerie clean stuff. Yes, absolutely fucking great. This is the exact soundtrack for these lyrics. I feel it backs them greatly. A voice clip follows, but I didn't catch it.
Then the song heats up and starts pummeling once again. Such a powerful intro. The riffs going on during the first chorus is also fucking great. Again, loving the dark slow riffs thrown in here. Definitely carries the depressing vibe of the worker slave to the corporate pig (a position I am only too well aware of, having been in janitorial most of my life.) There's an interesting clean riff used about the 6:40 mark, I'm also really digging that. (Maybe that's Gojia inspiration I'm hearing?)
A driving riff comes in and delivers with it a slightly core sound, but it definitely works well enough. I heard what I thought was a solo, and then it faded. The drums come in crushing, and then I'm hearing some lengthy riffs which go into a solo. Another great solo by the way. Sometimes it sounds slightly off-key but that might just be me. Then the thump comes in. The bass revs up and Obama guests on the disc. I had no idea he was into technical death metal. Actually, there seem to be many politicians on this voice clip, but I understand what's going on here. It's the beginning of the end. Of course, I can look outside my window and tell you that. I can show you recent news and you'd see that. Of course I wish that I could've heard the entire clip, because some of those quotes I hadn't heard, but it's readily apparent what it's about.
Of course, there might be so much metal coming out because there is so much wrong with the world. Metal has an always was the voice of dissent, and it's definitely an age of protest and dissent. The youth are even interrupting major conferences such as the Climate Control Conference in Durban. With good reason, as the US considers climate change nothing to worry about, but almost every other country does. In five years, the damage will be irreversible... Ten... we're under water.
But getting back to the disc, I definitely feel it's both an informative and very complex listen. The voices on this disc are the voices of the everyman, and the music on this disc is the music of well polished musicians who have been working tediously to make this a notable technical death metal act. I am not joking around here, folks. If I was a label executive, I would've given these gentlemen a recording contract.
This is great tech death, that's just as good as anything you can buy on the market today, but with much more pizzazz and flair than tech death has offered in the past. There is alot of genre melding on this disc, and that's what really makes a band great, is when they can really fuse so many things together so seamlessly. I've heard plenty of tech death, and hated much that I've heard with few exception, because it seems that many people are trying to repave the road, so to speak. That is not such the case, here.
This was a pleasant surprise, gentlemen. I both missed getting my daily workout and postponed the revision of my second novel's 22nd chapter in order to give your disc the attention it needed. I feel my efforts weren't in vain, as this is highly crafted tech death (and I mean highly crafted) that should be selling by the thousands.
If you are a fan of technical death metal at all, this is quite an extravaganza. I always find it funny how local acts can sound so much better than groups leagues away. Perhaps it's something in the water, or the air. Or perhaps we southern folk just have more time to concentrate as it isn't so noisy out here. (Looks out window to see miles of farmland.)
Whatever the case, go grab this disc. I'm sure the band would appreciate it, and it's well worth it. I'm also glad to hear something that doesn't sound so much like Meshuggah. (62:00)