Thursday, February 09, 2012

Last Transgression: Cynic Verses (2011)

Clearing the Docket

My spam filter nearly thwarted vocalist/guitarist Terry's attempt to submit Last Transgression's album Cynic Verses to me, but by odd chance I happened to be looking for something else in my spam folder. A lucky circumstance.

The Alabama band has been around since 1994, and have released prior albums in 1995, 1997, and 2002. But you'd never guess they've been around that long by listening to the record, which is almost purely modern death metal. Other than a short, dirty solo in album closer "Six Smiles Revolving", it's a relatively clean blend of modern death metal (not unlike Hail of Bullets) with some technical tendencies (a la Decapitated).

There are a few places where the band is really on point. The aforementioned album closer, opener "When Blood Becomes Art", and album highlight "Scorpio Descending" (with its rock 'n' roll intro) are all compelling blends of good riffery, hoarse vocals, and some technical moments. Most of the album suffers, however, from a lack of identity. They're not technical enough to be a technical band: some of the playing is not as tight and blistering as technical death should be, and the couple of jazz breaks are seriously out of place (see "The Beast"). But most of the record isn't quite catchy enough to succeed as pure modern death, either.

So does that matter? As Terry said, "Maybe you will like it,maybe you wont" [sic]. In other words, the amount of fuck he gives is exactly equal to the amount of fuck he gives about grammar. Am I going to go around singing their praises? No. Would I see them if I found myself in Montgomery or Prattville? Absolutely. For a long-running local death metal band, that's really all that matters. And for their fans, the record is a well-produced recording of what I'm sure they already love in a live setting, complete with some nifty stereo tricks.

The Verdict: It's a bit too middle-of-the-road to make any lasting impressions, but as advertisement and fundraiser for a long-standing band it serves its purpose well. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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