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Scenery: Mental Confusion

Six years on from their hit and miss Continuity album, Czech Republic Technical Thrash/Death/Progressive Metal outfit Scenery returned in 2012 with Mental Confusion, an album which decided to tone down the Thrash element of their sound. Instead an almost jazzy fusion style was introduced into their deathtalic leanings, the results being decidedly uncompromising. The sheer clash of the profoundly progressive against shredding vocals and brash bristling riffs proving ear weakeningly challenging. Often in these cases familiarity softens the blow, allowing the listener to break through the density of complexity, but here the sheer collision of styles stubbornly refuses to reveal the underlying plan behind taking death metal and aiming it head-first at Prog.

Six years is a long time for any band to be away and it would be more surprising if the line-up (with the loss of guitarist Michael) paired back to a four piece of Petr on vocals, Mik, bass and keys, Lerry, guitar, and new drummer Keki, had been identical, but with the same core trio, the sheer difference between Continuity and Mental Confusion really is quite stark. While the former didn't completely click as hoped, truth be told the ethos of complexity over all else on MC leaves this release even harder to engage with.

As with their previous effort a guest singer is employed, being on this occasion Peter Aristone who actually does a fine job attempting to link the brashness to the prowess, although his contributions are underused and often too deep in the maelstrom to really break through. All that said, genre blending isn't anything new and when it is done properly, there's no denying the brew concocted can be zingier than the component parts. However what Scenery have done is create death metal songs and then simply add little bursts of guitar histrionics, the odd keyboard widdle, or madly scything time changes, before simply pausing for breath and heading back into the metal that preceded the breakdown. It is almost like oil and water, where the two constituent parts just refuse to mix, leaving an unsatisfying feeling of unfinishedness about the whole thing.

Ultimately Scenery are a hugely talented bunch of musicians lacking one thing....songs....and while there's no doubt that this is obviously the bit that matters most, if they can hone that aspect, then the results could be rather special. In the meantime there's really not enough on show here to entice you back for more.

Track Listing
1. Mist of Reality
2. Malleus Maleficarum
3. Abyss of Awaken
4. Mental Confusion
5. Armful of Eternity
6. Apostate
7. Hallucination
8. Sieve of Infinity

Added: August 23rd 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Scenery on Bandzone
Hits: 1608
Language: english

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