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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Innerty - Tabula Rasa (2012)

Band: Innerty
Country: Grenoble, France
Style: Progressive Death Metal
Label: Fromtape

You know, I really haven't covered too much "prog-death" within the last year or so, and looking back I'm a little disappointed in myself. I suppose you could trace it back to 2009 and 2010 when every band labeled as "prog-death" was trying to sound like Opeth that the genre started to get stale for myself and others that I decided to stop even trying to find new bands. This year has provided me with quite a few new groups that are doing interesting things with the genre and this is the first one I've decided to post about.
To be honest, when I first heard about this album I had imagined it being just another djent record. I could've sworn that I listened to it maybe a month ago or something like that and it didn't really impress me, but having listened to it several times now, I can assure that this is no djent record. This is very much a progressive record, and not only that, it's a record that leans very heavily on the likes of jazz, fusion, and other various forms of those styles. In many ways this record made me think of what it might sound like if the guys from Atheist decided they wanted to start playing like Meshuggah, and I don't mean in a djent way, but more to just incorporate more groove into their songs. After the initial intro of Abiotic Landscapes, the first real track, Sphenoid, is pretty overwhelming. It just bursts right out of the gate and jumps around various ideas including Latin jazz, straight-ahead death metal, math rock, and I wanna even say a little bit of funk. Depending on your point of view, this could either be the perfect way to introduce the album or a real headache inducer in the works; and it was the former for me. I'll admit that it isn't the most accessible, or even the most memorable, track on the album, but for myself, it's the type of opening track (when you exclude intros) that just gets in your face and lets you know what you're in for. If you can't take this opener, I somehow doubt you'll enjoy the rest of the album but I'm really just guessing here.
Following tracks are far easier to take in, mainly because they aren't as long, but are a bit more melodic in comparison. Songs like Monism Needs A Ro or The Divine Phenomenology of Cold Fire are easier to take in on first listen and are probably some of the more accessible tracks on the entire album. Having said that, as the album progresses, the band explore even more musical territory, never to the extent that I would call them an avant-garde group, but other forms of jazz, rock, and metal are thrown into the melting pot of ideas. If you think I'm joking, listen to the prog-metal gone spastic electronic remix that Igorrr (of Uneven Structure) provides for Kubark near the middle of the album. It's a total curve ball. By the way, listen to the bass on here, it's just as great as the guitar is on several tracks, if you wind up liking the guitars anyway, and is just so ear-catching but in no way overwhelming or overpowering. I'll go back to the djent thing really quick and say that the only tracks that I'd say even reference djent are the last two on the album, Qualophobia and Innate Anamnesis, and both don't even use it ways that will make you immediately think, "Oh, that's a djent riff." So, it's there, but it's really not enough for me to think of this as a djent record, and I somehow doubt others will think that either.
I think one of the more eye-catching factors on this album will be the title-track trilogy near the end of the album. I'm not saying that this is going to apply for everyone, but I've known some people (prog fans) that are more excited when a longer track is broken up into smaller segments because it makes the entire track more digestible for the "regular" populace to consume than a single, long track. I'm not really opposed to either, personally, but seeing as this album employs both methods, I would say that splitting the title-track into three separate parts was a good decision. Both the first and third segments are calmer, more jazzy pieces that are nice little breathers when listening to the entire album. The middle/second part is a nice little piece that isn't overly complex when compared to some of the other tracks on the album, but features some of my favorite instrumental parts from the entire disc. Every member of the band is in top form on this short four and a half minute long track, it's just great.
This is good shit right here (I don't like to swear in my reviews, but this really calls for it) and I am most certainly impressed with this album. This is definitely one of the more impressive debuts I've heard so far this year, and one that I haven't seen that much about. I definitely recommend checking out this album. So to answer the question, yes, we certainly are amused.
Overall Score: 9
Highlights: (Enter The) Void, The Divine Phenomenology of Cold Fire, Tabula Rasa II - Noesis

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