Meshuggah Non-RipoffsGuest review by Patrick, proprietor of Beards Etc., home of metal, beards, and more.
Sectu are a Swedish death metal group who have only been around for a few years. Gerra will be their second album, and was released May 16. I was not familiar with the band prior to this, so I didn't really know what to expect.
When I first put this record on, it took me a few tracks before I really started to get a feel for it. I'm tempted to stick "progressive" or "technical" somewhere in this group's genre label, as they incorporate odd tempo shifts and counter-intuitive riffs in several of their songs. The stuttering start-stop-start action in "Court of the Sloths" is a good example of these peculiarities. In addition, slow strings of twangy single-note guitar lines are sometimes layered over top of the heavier main riffs, creating a vaguely unsettling effect. This album is not just some sting of odd experiments though. The songs are consistently heavy and well played, with some more traditional death metal riffs reinforcing the overall structure. When the choppy timing comes into play, it reminds me of the herky-jerky motion of 1980's movie monsters. Somehow, the decidedly alien nature of its motion makes the horrific creature in front of you all the more disturbing.
In contrast with the instrumentation, the vocals are somewhat typical of straightforward death metal, which helps to bring some sense of normalcy to the overall sound without sacrificing anything in terms of heaviness. And these guys are definitely heavy. The sound production is good too, with everything fitting in its proper place and being clearly audible but not brightly polished.
I would not go so far as to call these guys a Meshuggah rip-off, but I would say that their sound draws inspiration from their colossal countrymen. That said, I've always felt that Meshuggah is an excellent band that I don't personally happen to connect with, and to a degree I think that's true here, too. This is really good stuff, but I'd have to be in a very specific kind of mood to enjoy it as much as it deserves.
The Verdict: Gerra is tight, interesting, and heavy death metal with a decidedly technical edge. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.