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Dissension: Of Time and Chronic Disease

One of the long-standing uses of skeleton imagery is to remind everyone that they all basically will look the same after death and decay. As for the skeleton on the cover of this album, it adds another interesting symbol: It stands in a slightly skewed posture, its right hand pouring out some kind of sand from a cup. The message is simple: time and death and decay are inevitable. As a metal cover, it works beautifully. The album's title, Of Time and Chronic Disease reinforces the point really well, too. What could be more of a chronic disease than mortal life itself?

The music on this album is best described as eclectic, a label the band also employs. The band's own promo materials suggest that the music is probably a mix of death, thrash, and power metal. This seems about right, though I'm tempted to simplify things and just call it death power metal. Generally, the music leans more heavily on the darker, more brutal, side of things, especially in the guitars and vocals. The power dimensions mostly draw on the bright, yet mysterious keyboards (played by Andrew Proppe) in many of their songs. Although I liked the keyboard parts in general, they sometimes seemed slightly out of place, as though they were running slightly counter to the guitar / bass / drums attack. I don't want to be overly critical—this is a very good band after all—I just sometimes wanted the keys to drop slightly behind the rest of the sound.

Things are absolutely at their best in tracks like "Blacksteel,""Brutality," and "Dissension" when things work together to create a sound the band can rightly call theirs. I liked "Blacksteel" the most because it balances a melodic sense with brutal riffs and lyrics. I especially liked the "Destroy" refrain of the chorus. "Brutality," no less interesting, does a good job of establishing the main guitar riff and draws on keyboards to establish a rhythmic / melodic backdrop. "Dissension," probably the best track of them all, has a very strong opening and keeps thing going effectively until the end. The crunching guitar about ¾ of the way through is terrific. They keyboards add to the overall sound with their mysterious, almost otherworldly, quality.

In the end, this is a strong and compelling listen. If I understand right, some of the music here is older, things written years ago. That would probably explain the sense I sometimes felt that things were more or less mature, more or less developed. Ultimately, though, I liked the album and think it warrants praise. It is certainly eclectic and may take a few listens for some people to decide whether they like the range of styles on display here. For me, this band is at their best when they stick to heavy death metal and use the keys to develop atmosphere.

Track Listing:
1. Thralls to the Crucified
2. Graceless Death
3. Blacksteel
4. Brutality
5. Set to Kill
6. Legacy
7. Dreamsong of the Divine
8. Of Time and Chronic Disease
9. Dissension
10. Apotheosis

Added: October 9th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1634
Language: english

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