Thursday, October 6, 2016

Crator - The Ones Who Create: The Ones Who Destroy (2016)

The debut album from these New York based (currently unsigned, but probably not for long) tech/death/black metallers comes off without a hitch, plunging the listener face-forward into what I could consider to be an extremely violent, albeit creative storm. From the minute you push play, you're automatically greeted by Origin drummer John Longstreth (Unmerciful, Dim Mak) who pretty much pummels the kit more than half the time. But for those who aren't huge Origin fans (and I know that I'm not, even having seen them live) I can say that the addition of Beyond The Arctopus bassist Colin Marston (Byla, Dysrhythmia, Encenathrakh, Gorguts, Withered, Krallice, Indicothere) certainly adds a kickstart to the project and makes it a bit more listenable. We also have Jeff Liefer (Tentacles and a band called Satanic Sega Genesis, which upset me when I found out that it wasn't instrumental death metal covers of Genesis/Mega Drive game soundtracks) who adds the bit of technicality needed to make an act like this a bit more appealing as well.

Take “The Echo That Conquers Voice” for example, which includes a nearly godlike section of melodies which almost come across as something from the furthest reaches of outer space. It's that attention to detail that pulls interest into the act, even though the one-dimensional performance of longtime Origin frontman Jason Keyser isn't going to win any awards in my book. Because the nature of this band is very sporadic and experimental in a sense, Keyser is forced to try new things with his hum-drum style and that I'd consider a plus. Problem is, Keyser seems to want to phone in the same approach on several of these cuts, making for what sounds like a sort of guttural mush with lyrics that I couldn't understand properly if I tried. He nearly gives us the same vocal performance on every song, which is a bit disheartening. There are times when Keyser uses a scream or he is forced to use a slightly different vocal tempo because the structural nature of the song has changed in general, but these are sadly not often. I find myself growing quite tired of the same vocal stylings in death metal, regardless of the fact that they are in retrospect – pretty damn fun to perform. I wouldn't mind making a record with that Cannibal Corpse friendly approach of near-endless gutterals, but I would never market it as the greatest thing I had ever done. It would be just kind of a “for fun” ordeal. In any case, it is far more tolerable than Mike DeSalvo's gutpunch friendly vocals on the earlier released Coma Cluster Void album (Mind Cemeteries) and is quite a breath of fresh air from that.

Musically, I still think that Coma Cluster Void went further into the realms of sheer experimental absurdity, but that's not counting these guys out completely. They've still done a great job with this mix of technical experimentation, hefty brutality and grim black metal nodes. I can't just call that a wash, because it clearly isn't. These gentlemen came together to make a disc that combines all of their efforts into something that really matters and feels like a reflection of their skills as a whole. How could I possibly argue with that? Sure, it might drone on one after awhile in the vocal department, but at least there are pieces on the album in which one is able to collect their thoughts. I certainly enjoyed the title track as well as aforementioned cut “The Echo That Conquers Voice” but found very little to diverge from the formula as a whole. To be fair, this is the debut album from Crator and I'm sure that they will only further evolve and perfect their style with time. If nothing else, I can say that there does seem to be a type of chemistry here, and it will make for a nice holdover until the next Origin disc arrives. Even though personally, I'd much rather have The Ones Who Create: The Ones Who Destroy. Personal preference, as always.

(9 Tracks, 39:00)


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