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Παρασκευή, 3 Ιουνίου 2011

Review: Believer - Transhuman

When we are talking about progressive metal, we expect, besides the more technical part, some experimentation on each level. There are very few bands that can achieve that and not fall into the trap of repeating themselves on each album. Believer is one of these bands.

After a 16 years hiatus, Believer returned in 2009 with “Gabriel”, an album that shook the waters, and now they are presenting us with their fifth attempt. “Transhuman” is certainly different from its predecessor, and not at all what we expected. First of all, in this album, we are dealing with the familiar Believer sound, the song structure and the music are quite complicated, not chaotic though, there are some pounding, heavy riffs and the tempos are changing throughout the album. One thing that changes is the vocals. Whereas in all their other albums the vocals remain the same, in “Transhuman” the band is experimenting, and for the first time we hear some clean vocals from Kurt Bachman. The second thing that changes is the technicality. The songs sound simpler, even slower than before. The thrashy feel, that distinguished all previous releases, is not that visible in this album. According to the band “the focus is on songwriting, rather than just showcasing speed and technicality”. And of course, we can’t talk about “Transhuman” and not mention the lyrics. Believer have taken a step further, and decided to give us a concept album based on the idea of transhumanism. In very simple words, transhumanism is a theory that studies the way technology can improve the human capacities.
So, from the first hearing, one can understand that the material of “Transhuman” is quite intense, both musically and lyrically. The first two songs, “Lie Awake” and “G.U.T.”, are fast and powerful, and they give a dynamic start that prepares you for the rest of the album. “Transfection” is a very interesting song, in the intro of which you can hear something like a xylophone. “Clean Room” is another powerful song, with some cool tempo changes, and some very impressive guitar riffs. Things calm down a bit with “Currents”, an instrumental piece with a very cinematic feel to it. “Ego Machine” is the thrashiest song in “Transhuman”, which brings back memories from “Gabriel” and “Sanity Obscure”. The album closes with “Mindsteps”, a somewhat mellow song with a beautiful keyboard melody.
“Transhuman” is not an easy album. You will need to listen to it again and again in order to appreciate it fully. It is a challenging album that provides food for thought, and we don’t come across this kind of music very often. So, if you are into progressive stuff (the fans of Tool or Meshuggah will love it) I suggest you take the booklet in your hands, read the lyrics, and let Believer take you to their parallel, mechanic universe.         

Label: Metal Blade Records

Kurt Bachman – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Jeff King – Guitar, Keyboards
Kevin Leaman – Guitar
Joey Daub – Drums       

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