Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Precipitation - The Power Of... (2016)

The debut from this uncanny German melodic death/metalcore act definitely surprised me. But that's because Precipitation simply don't follow the rules. It's not always melodic death metal, it's not always core and it's not always metal, period. As a matter of fact, the record begins with blues and doesn't shy away from that. The Power Of... is simply a mixture of different styles that all culminate together to make a pretty interesting experience. It goes without saying that all of these guys are new blood, even though the band have been together since 2013. Sometimes it takes awhile to craft a record and this one is definitely the result of fine craftsmanship beyond anything that I would have ever expected. I asked for quite a bit of physical submissions to review over the past week and don't even remember this being one of them. That wasn't a problem though, as it actually turned out to be my favorite of the three.

If you listen to “Unavoidable” for example, it's basically crunchy melodic rock with some proggy touches, yet fronted with a hefty growl that you might not expect for the genre. There's also a clean vocal moment, which isn't the only one to appear and to be honest – they get better. There are some very strong clean vocal moments on the disc, which I'll mention later on in this review. Precipitation also take on a seven-minute monster called “Dazzled” which is pretty unexpected for a record like this, even though it is a re-recorded cut from their 2014 demo. You can hear as much classic melodeath as you can hear it retooled through the American incarnations of the genre. Yet as I stated in the genre description, you are getting some core moments as well as some breakdowns and whatnot. Though you should expect that, as these guys don't really play by the rules and in some places can come off with an unexpected amount of intricacy. The sound veers into almost progressive metal at times, though can also feature the kind of bluesy-solos that you might expect on a Zakk Wylde album (but are nowhere near as good as Zakk himself, of course.) One of my personal favorite cuts comes right after, called “Cosmic.” The band also tries very hard for some sort of space-faring sound as well which features a very strong clean vocal chorus as well as what almost looks to be a Devin Townsend inspired take on metalcore. Keep in mind, this song is a little over six minutes long and comes pretty early on by which point the song lengths start to normalize. I don't know why they decided to put some of their longest and most-textured tracks at the beginning of the record. This one would have made a great centerpiece and “Dazzled” would have done well to replace album clunker “Insane.”

As we move into the album, we start to notice even more progressive leanings of which I'm quite a fan – I would just have never expected it. “Alone” even tries for a slightly gloomier approach, but nothing like album closer “Last Breath” which is kind of rough to listen to. “Hideout” pounds out hard rock with hefty growls, while “Philosopher's Stoned” sounds like progressive death with a little bit of hard rock influence to it as well. I'd definitely consider it one of the disc's best tracks, as well as several others here. Once again, these guys just popped out of nowhere and impressed me beyond what I would have expected from the band. You can't even tell what kind of genre they are, or music they might play by looking at the album. If you look at the below image and think that you're getting “space black metal” than you've already flunked. Though I've honestly heard enough “space black metal” in my life and I'm quite pleased with the kind of band that really doesn't show boundaries. These guys could have thrown it out to the mainstream years ago, like several other German acts I've reviewed for larger labels; but the fact that they didn't cut out the extremities or textures from this record makes it something of a diamond in the rough.

The album's last cut is “Last Breath” which as I explained, was kind of tough to listen to. It's a serious song about death and one's final thoughts before they die, which can almost be a gut-wrenching experience. It is most definitely a funeral doom inspired moment, even though some of the melodies might be a little more upbeat than what we'd expect on a funeral doom record. It still might come off a bit poppier than some might be used to but it certainly isn't the kind of track that you'd expect to hear on an album like this one. At the end of the day, I really hope that we'll hear more from Precipitation in the future and there might REALLY be something here. This is the sound of a band that has loads of musical potential, but they also have the potential to sell out and make millions or the potential to be a relatively strong force in the underground. It simply depends on what these guys want to do and I'll support them either way. Even if the next record isn't to my liking, I certainly won't forget this unexpected German metal treasure.

(10 Tracks, 51:00)


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