Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Embrional: Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors (2012)

Not Fully Formed

Guest review by Patrick, proprietor of Beards Etc., home of metal, beards, and more.

Embrional are a Polish death metal outfit founded in 2003. Their second full-length album, Absolutely Anti-Human Behaviors, is set for release at the end of March. This record was my first exposure to the band.

Embrional take an atypical approach which sonically separates them from other Polish death metal acts. This divergence primarily lies in their guitar work. They employ a wide range of timing shifts, and many of their guitar riffs are peculiarly dissonant. Unusual chord progressions trade back and forth with the more standard death metal fare, giving the entire experience a somewhat experimental feel. The drums blaze away, providing a more conventional backdrop against which to set the guitar work. The vocals are solid death metal growls, though nothing terribly out of the ordinary.

I have two major issues with this record. The first is that, while clearly adventurous and creative, I'm not convinced that the execution of this album quite lives up to the ideas behind it. Sometimes everything clicks, but in many places, jarring and counter-intuitive shifts leave the songs feeling rather disjointed. This makes for an interesting but very uneven listening experience. The second problem is with the production. This is not an overly fuzzy and unintelligible album, nor is it too clean, but the tonal aspect of the production is problematic. The guitar sound is frequently very thin, and with the already non-existent bass so typical to death metal records, this leaves many of the songs sounding a bit reedy and hollow. The drumming is usually fairly high and sharp as well, so this means that in several songs the only real bottom-end is found in the vocals. That makes the vocals in those songs sound like they belong on an entirely different recording, again contributing to the generally disjointed nature of the album. These tonal issues are not true of every song, but they crop up often enough to be distracting.

With all that said, there is a lot of potential here. This being only their second full-length release, the band is still relatively young. Their willingness to experiment with different approaches to the established death metal formula suggests a very real opportunity for growth and development over the course of future releases. As such, I will definitely be keeping an eye on Embrional in the future.

The Verdict: Embrional is a creative band with a good deal of potential. As of this release, however, their music has not yet fully matured. This is interesting, but it's too disjointed and problematic to be genuinely enjoyable. I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Buy at Old Temple (album to be released March 30)

1 comment:

  1. I just posted up the link to this on my blog too, so hopefully a few people will follow that over this way.