Thursday, October 13, 2016

Spreading Dread - Age Of Aquarius (2016)

Though you may not have heard of them, (and the only review that exists in English is a three-star from Metal Temple) this is actually the sophomore release from the Czech based power/thrashers. (Am I reading that right, Metal Archives?) So the idea of this review is pretty simple. Should I go along with what the temple scribes consider to be a realitively decent record, or should I look a little further? First of all, this record seems about the furthest thing from power/thrash. It sounds instead like more of a mixture between melodic death metal and modern metalcore. Except for the fact that it changes from that quickly after album opener “Devolution” and mutates into a more neo-classically influenced style that reminds me of a mixture between the music of Castlevania and Undertale. Of course, that's just the long intro. We later get clean vocals and more of a Gojira or Tesseract progressive metal feel to the music that I just wasn't expecting at the start. This is much better than the opening note and I personally think they should have thrown that one in the garbage.

Starting the disc on a note like “Oil Stained” (it comes with it's own intro) would have been a great way to open the performance as a whole. I know for certain that there are a few reviewers who have admitted to only listening to the first track on a record to see if they like it. Do you understand what that means, guys? I know it sounds pretty pathetic, but because some people can't be bothered to check out more than one track on a damn record, they probably missed out your more interesting material due to that unnecessary opener. As I continue listening to the rest of the album, it only gets more interesting and features more venturing out into different realms far beyond the normalcy of the opener. “Conspiracy” begins with a hypnotic riff as it goes into what I could consider something of a hefty death/thrash and then builds into a sort of atmospheric rock. Spreading Dread show us that yes, you can go from a death/thrasher into atmopsheric rock, but it's not common. Then the track carries us right into a core-influenced death pummeler that is far more brackish than the death/thrash offered in the beginning. They could have opened the album with this one as well. “Karmic Wheels” rolls right into technicality, as well as what could be a sort of filtered vocal.

You've got to hand it to these guys as they really are trying to make a complex record, which is exactly what Metal Temple reviewer Lauren Fonto had an issue with. She said, “I think they are trying to do too many things with one song.” Good thing there are second opinions, right? You see, the one thing that Fonto seemed to not care about, is what attracted me to this act. Sure, they seem to go a little bit radio on some of these cuts, but I like that. I still think that they should pretend that they never wrote “Devolution” because it doesn't really mirror the mostly progressive nature of what has been achieved here, the mostly technical nature of what has been achieved here – and even though there are sections of modern and core influence, much has been accomplished in forty minutes than a slew of similar acts have tried for in the past.

Once again, I do believe that more people probably would have picked this one up if they had put the melodic deathcore track on the bottom and gave writers a real example of their talent. I'm not going to mince words here though, as I've never been a fan of core atmospheres, especially a disc that crunches so heavily on deathcore when it wants to be heavy. I'd have to be a fool not to see that there was something promising budding out here, and Fonto seemed to say the same thing in her review of the disc. We both seem to agree that these guys have potential, but she thinks they're too rambunctious and I think they're just too damn core. Did you forget that death metal existed? If they would fuse with death metal, there might be more of an applicable palette for me, but all of these breakdowns and such can even take away from the wonderful progressives and astonishing solos that these guys manage to pull off. Spreading Dread didn't really get the respect they deserved this time around, and maybe if they decide to switch the tracks around next time (and I honestly do recommend several bands to do this, because it is true of several reviewers – this is why the single is normally the first or second track on an album) on the promo, they'll get more coverage. I definitely that you give Age Of Aquarius a listen though, as it is a real diamond in the rough that can cause as much surprise as cringe. It just depends on how you like your metal, because this record is a buffet of sorts.

(8 Tracks, 43:00)


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