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Neandertahl - Aesthetics Degenerate

Still buzzing from seeing these guys live, thought it might be an idea to play the CD courtesy of the drummer Shakeel - thanks fella!. The six listed tracks are;

  1. Iron The Mind. Doom meets modern prog intro, leads into...
  2. Transfixing The Mental Behemoth. Mindblowingly complex opening riff. This is then twisted delicately and very intricately with subtle tempo changes. Drum patterns are very complex and the track expands into a fusion of technical metal in the style of Dream Theater combined with avant-garde death/black metal. Difficult to sum up the overall sound as there are so many genres influencing it, stunningly well executed.
  3. The Inappropriate Transition From Godliness To Hedonism. Starts with heavy thrash onslaught. As the track unwinds it combines elements from modern prog/techno,doom and death metal in a fluid, and certainly never predictable, framework.
  4. The Iridescence Of The Lie Hides The Pain Of Truth. Continues in the same vein as the previous track although has more of an extreme/black metal overtone. They generate effortless power on this one whilst retaining an incredibly complex and fluid structure
  5. Starving Cerebral Atrophication. Start of the track reminded me of Mastodon in a bizarre way. The modern prog, almost jazz, middle section is staggering, especially the basswork.
  6. Creeping Sentience Invades The Unspoilt Mind. Impossible to sum up the style of this one as the influences are so diverse. Incredibly intricate with tempo changes galore.
Unusually for me I'm going to start with the negatives. I'm really not keen on the vocals; ok there aren't a lot of them, but when the growling does kick in it detracts from the incredible complexity going on around it. Some may say this is a necessary soundclash, but for me it makes them sound like any of the extreme herd which, when they are clearly so different from the multitude of sound-alikes out there, puzzles me. Production needs a bit of a tweak with the bass sound being indistinct; trust me you are not going to see a better bass player and some of the kick drumming is very complex, but both get lost a bit in the overall mix. Not keen on the song titles either - are they intentionally pretentious and am I missing the point?

My overall verdict? If you get a chance to see them live watch and be amazed. This plays almost like a concept album but that could have a lot to do with the fluidity of the songs in general. It is a demanding listen due to the incredible levels of complexity, but stick with it and it is hugely rewarding. They fuse so many different genres and influences together that it takes a huge amount of skill and musical proficiency to make it work, which they do effortlessly. Staggeringly good musicians the end result is intriguingly addictive and will be played to death by me for the foreseeable future. Rumour has it they are recording soon; get the production right and the next release could catapault them into the elite. Fans of technical music need this in their collection - seriously they are that good - and with a bit of luck they will be huge.

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