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Biomechanical: The Empires of the Worlds

Biomechanical's The Empires of the Worlds is the metal surprise of the year for me. Its relentless power yields intense moments of crushingly heavy extreme music with touches of thrash, traditional, industrial, and even progressive metal. Built around complex harmonies and song structures, the music is meticulously produced resulting in a hybrid of dense staccato string bends, semi-melodious and semi-growled vocals that easily tear the stratosphere, and a hyper-speed chaos of rhythm intensity. All elements are combined in order to make a lasting musical statement that fearlessly transcends boundaries making the album impossible to categorize.

The dark cover art done by Nat Jones suggests Swedish thrash/death ala The Haunted or Hypocrisy, though Biomechanical shares little in common with either band, except their undeniable thrash metal riffery that characterizes their sound. Biomechanical does play a perfect mix of post-thrash and industrial with vivid traditional heavy metal overtones that often suggest Judas Priest or early Mercyful Fate, particularly in their guitar work. Add to this John K's inhuman vocals that can range from a deep Devin Townsend-like growl to majestic high screams from the likes of Rob Halford or Wade Black. The title track illustrates said amalgamation with its focused clean vocals contrasted by aggressive low growls and some Swedish scream harmonies. However, all extreme elements are put aside when the band's guitar tandem throws a swirling guitar solo that brings to mind the best moments of Downing and Tipton as well as Hank Shermann and Michael Denner (Mercyful Fate). Aside from the heavily Priest-inspired lead solos, Biomechanical's guitar duo Chris Webb and Jamie Hunt also lay down some amazing rapid-fire riffs coloured with post-thrash motifs and a Gene Hoglan-type of drummer that plays his instrument with ruthless aggression and stunning speed. Injected with a massive orchestration sound, the first track "Enemy Within" immediately recalls Strapping Young Lad, moreso than any other band. Industrial sound effects, swift keyboard layerings and a demonic twin guitar tandem that impresses with their sweep and pinch harmonic work are melted into the track to both define the sound of the band and expose their diversity.

Moreover, The Empires of the Worlds has a great film continuity to it, as main composer John K is very much into film score. From the creepy sound effects and heavily orchestrated "Regenerated" to the Cronenberg movie-inspired "Existenz" to the epic-sounding "Survival", the disc is filled with audio moments that give the album a visual feel. Given that this is also the second chapter of a huge concept piece, the band has incorporated these elements with great attention to detail. This is far from the typical "write a song and slap an orchestra on it" attitude. The orchestral arrangements actually are the song itself and they play a very vital role in the music. What's better, however, is that not even a single minute of heaviness has been compromised; the orchestra is there to add texture and enrich the arrangements. What we have in the foreground is sped-up twin guitars that, as on "Assaulter", can go from a Testament feel with melodic vocal lines and instrumental breakdowns to sludgy build-ups littered with a symphonic vortex of sound and Meshuggah complexity on "Relinquished Destiny". The four-part "Absolution" epic finds the band going back to film score with a blaring horn and string section on "Final Offence", horror movie voiceovers on "From the Abyss", and back-to-form aggression on the later two pieces that emphasize the band's ear for orchestration centred around mercilessly fierce guitar, bass and drum foundation.

Andy Sneap's production makes things only better and this disc will takes its place in his ever-growing list of works. The sound is far larger than the average metal release out there and embodies controlled chaos and a very precise vision of songwriting. This disc should be right up there with Strapping Young Lad's Alien and Nevermore's This Godless Endeavor, two of the year's best metal releases.

Track Listing

  1. Enemy Within
  2. Empires of the Worlds
  3. Assaulter
  4. Relinquished Destiny
  5. Long Time Dead
  6. Regenerated
  7. DNA Metastasis
  8. Survival
  9. Existenz
  10. Truth Denied
  11. Absolution Part 1: Final Offence
  12. Absolution Part 2: From the Abyss
  13. Absolution Part 3: Absolution
  14. Absolution Part 4: Disintegration

Added: December 3rd 2005
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Score:
Related Link: Biomechanical website
Hits: 3966
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Biomechanical: The Empires of the Worlds
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-12-03 10:20:56
My Score:

Take parts of Strapping Young Lad, Judas Priest, Queensryche, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Megadeth, Children of Bodom, Testament, and Meshuggah, fire it all in a blender on high speed, and out comes Biomechanical. These guys are all over the map on The Empires of the Worlds, a blistering, manic, heavy, yet highly progressive metal offering. If you like variety in your music, and don't mind heaping amounts of technicality and aggression, then you have come to the right place. Biomechanical have found a way to combine elements of thrash, classic metal, industrial tinged death metal, and of course technical progressive metal, into one seamless sound, yet each track has a completely different flavor from the next. Lead singer John K has a truly amazing voice, as he takes a different approach on each song, almost giving the impression that there is a new singer on each track. The pounding rhythms crackle with amazing dexterity, and the dual guitar team lays down a multitude of lightning solos and crushing riffs. If the first 10 songs don't completely slay you, the closing four-part epic "Absolution" certainly will with its layered keyboards, operatic vocals, and ripping guitarwork.


Simply put, a band that will be on the minds and lips of many once the word gets out. A breathtaking release from a band that will surely get better. My guess is this album is a precursor to an upcoming masterpiece, and I'll be waiting.




2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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