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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Simulacrum - Master of the Simulacrum review

Year : 2011
Genre : Progressive Metal
Label : Inverse Records
Origin : Finland
Rating : 7.0 / 10

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It is very easy to understand where Finland's Simulacrum is coming from : imagine a relatively life-capable blend of Dream Theater and Symphony X, add a tint of - BUT! a tint of - super-fruitful technical deathmetal, and - kind of - spoil it with blunt vocal performance on top. The album starts out eminently, keeping this form up with a sexy blend of middleweight metal rhetorics and caressing synth work á lá Faith No More. The music though, is of entirely different fabric, showing rabid faithfulness to a ripe-, but relatively scantly realized inner image of melodic progressive metal. Production values guarantee a slim frame with elegant musculature, and, as such, the sonic mass of this delivery hardly if ever seeks to intimidate your receivers. The least efficient ingredient, in my opinion, is the vocal contribution, but nothing that can't be perfected later on. The melodic route-decisions fail to touch me. Exceptions are present, but nothing beyond that.

The album shows a variety of different key characteristics, - apart from the dramatic teddybear singing - as the delivery no doubt seeks to serve you all the ingredients established by its key inspirators : Dream Theater, Symphony X. Fortunately, the album has the capacity to render certain focal elements with great success, while other elements are teaming up with the Hippopotamus League to indulge mercilessly in any fashion and in any substance that it feels comfortably for THEM. Read on to find out more about this decent progressive metal attempt.

The melodic body of work herein is very orthodox progressive me(t)al with the highly unsurprising intent of seeking out the field between power metal and hard rock that is bordering on dramatic musical, but the collision between harmonies and the super-persistent vocal work lacks that special-, ripe playfulness factor that hacks your nervous system on spot and urges you in real time to revisit a track. Such a sentence shouldn't be hanging in the air without justification, so I attempt to clarify my claim. Listen to the track "The Re-Formation Show" from Anubis Gate's latest album, and hear - in my opinion - utterly playful and ripe progressive metal. If the chorus of that song does not strike you as brilliant, then I don't know what to tell you. This Simulacrum album, while enthusiastic as an adolescent around a rubber porn star, has a whole lot of galaxies to cover yet to be regarded with the same ave. But it has 6 minutes and 15 seconds of jawdropping stimuli, so stick around.

I don't want to be (all that much) evil with this record, so I will tell you the elements I think it shows superb form, even bursts of brilliance with and through. It mainly is via the experimental tendencies. These leanings are far from being integral and find no cunning to reign fruitfully homogeneous in their efficiency. Laboriously built, sweat-reeking pseudo-complexity - piano and distorted guitar playing the same phrase in unison??, WOW, you rascal!, you!, you KNOW how to treat a snob! < - irony. - oftentimes gets mistaken herein for true experimental compositional work ready to fuck your mind for its own enjoyment like this monster does, and the band has an occasional hard time distinguishing their solid moments from self-indulgent wankery that is happening for THEIR enjoyment and definitely not for yours.

Now for the worse parts.

The album, I think, looks the worst when it seeks for the epic sorrow of James LaBrie and finds the horrid thing, and it looks best when the experimental segments have a continuous narrative to tell, and not just casual experimentation of interconnected elements of complexity that have no actual knowledge or shared experiences about each other at all. One song I find absolutely stellar on this album, is track number 5, called "Flagiston". It is a hyper-complex psyche-robber sci-fi instrumental revolving around swarms of nanobots chasing your hide to rewrite your DNA. (As a start.) The band shows surprising ripeness and top tier chops herein, and a clear set of correlations is notable between the more tame instrumental language they speak in this song and that of Blotted Science, Obscura and Gorod. In other words, this track, called Flagiston, is as superb of a technical death metal build as it is a fabric with tight progressive elements. The definite peaking of the album, and, if this LP would bring this quality all the way throughout, then I naturally would have no other choice than to rate it well above 9. Not that it is that important. Remember, the art always is superior to its miserable critic, no exceptions.

The band knows how to entertain you in legit fashion, but are not always willing to pay that price on this record, in my opinion, and sometimes satisfies with alibi. The music on this release ain't as serious-, nor as heavy or thrilling YET as in the company of Anubis Gate or as on Symphony X's latest, and, the haunting feel of the 1986 metal pop festival is an enthusiastic invitee of the developments, too, hiding among a set of much more tolerable-, even likable entities. With such delicate deliveries as Flagiston on board though, you definitely want to keep an eye on this promising progressive metal band.

Rating : 7.0 / 10

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The album isn't an independent release. It will be released on the 4th of January 2012 through Inverse Records. Thanks for the thorough review but for Flagiston's sake, SUPPORT THE BAND AND BUY THE ALBUM! =)

    Chrism // Simulacrum

  3. Thank you for the correction, making the changes right away.

    (Not too concealed) propaganda : to support the band via buying their album indeed, you don't even need to leave this page. You can buy it through the link supplied on the data sheet in the review. Your purchase supports Noise Shaft, too, through affiliate marketing. Come on, bitches, let these people produce some sales!


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