Continuum
The Hypothesis

So if a member of Decrepit Birth (Chase Frasier) decided to go off and have some fun with a side project, take a guess what it would sound like?  And what if he recruited the guitarist from Arkaik (Ivan Mungia)?  If you guessed it would be a head-churning, riff-filled, 200 mph tech-death punch to the throat, then sign up for the next “Jeopardy!  – The Extreme Metal Edition”… coming soon to your local networks.  Ok not really, but it would be damn cool.

So if you are a fan of any of the above bands, or Beneath the Massacre or Origin or even Rings of Saturn, you know exactly what you’re going to get here.  With the talent of the aforementioned riff-spitters, Fraser and Munguia , you can expect a dizzying level of guitar work, with wall shaking double bass courtesy of Son of Aurelius drummer Spencer Edwards.  Add in fellow Son of Aurelius  and Inanimate Existence vocalist Riley McShane and bassist Nick Willbrand (Flesh Consumed), and you’ve got one hell of handful of talent on display.  The dual vocal growl/scream might have some leaning toward the deathcore edge of things, but this is most definitely more on the technical side.

So does it all work?  Well, one of the most common criticisms of tech-death is that it can come across as lifeless and nothing but a personal show & tell of the talent of the musicians on hand.  This one definitely has the talent, but I found it does spin by without much to grab onto.  The first 3 tracks average about 2 minutes and feature the obligatory speed fest on drums and a swirling riff tornado(s) from the guitars, with a poorly placed noise track at number four that adds nothing to the album.  The opener to track 7, “Perspective”, features some of the fastest double bass I have ever heard in my life, and something I would want to see performed live.  The album closes with the longest track, the 9 minute “Steppes to Ascension”, which makes the odd artistic choice of featuring the same riff that repeats over and over again, which had me reaching for the skip button about 2 minutes into it.  Some people might dig that, but I didn’t care for it.

This album was recorded mainly by Fraser with additional tracking and mixing by Zack Ohren (Suffocation, Fallujah, All Shall Perish et al.) so that is definitely one of the strong points.  Some might think it sounds too polished, but this is 2015 and hoping for a dirty sounding tech-death album is nothing but wishful thinking.  Again I don’t mind it but that’s yet another criticism of the tech-death genre.  A solid album and one worth a look, but not much past that as I feel it will get lost in the genre pool.  However, I’m a huge fan of Unique Leader and this is another solid addition to their already stellar lineup.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kevin E
May 5th, 2015

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