Another day, another release from Unique Leader; yet there is no release for me. As the de facto tech-death guru at the AMG offices, I’m caught in a near perpetual state of mild frustration as streams of 16th notes tickle my cochleae and bearded men scream putrid nothings into my ear. While the year thus far has been pretty kind to the genre, Sturgeon’s law is still in effect, and Deceptionist‘s debut, Initializing Irreversible Process, is my latest helping of the caviar of middlingness. Deceptionist aren’t your run-of-the-mill tech-death band, and their style, blending death metal with industrial influences, makes for an appropriately extreme album that’s probably about skynet. But for all of the Angry Metal Robots reading this review, I’m sorry to report that Initializing Irreversible Process isn’t likely to shift the lyrical zeitgeist away from aliens anytime soon.
As is often the case, this album doesn’t anything terribly wrong, but that’s because the band never takes the initiative to do much of anything at all. This is a riff-driven album through and through and the guitarists clearly know their Necrophagist, making heavy use of palm-muted tremolos in between more string skipping than a jump rope championship. But their high speed tracks feel sterile and their pickings clipped, the death metal equivalent of a Canadian auctioneer. It’s all very mechanized, but not in an interesting way; the gears spin without shifting, too quickly to track.
A frequent use of vocal and sound effect samples is the band’s greatest strength, but that fact is itself a pretty damning flaw. “Sunshine” is the second track I’ve heard in so many months to sample the film Sunshine, but unlike the other one – Zealotry‘s “The Last Witness,” it makes a complete nonsensical mess of it. Whereas “The Last Witness” capitalized on the film’s nihilistic and existential potential by sampling lines about the cosmic insignificance of human extinction, “Sunshine” instead sort of summarizes the plot of the film, and draws from such memorable lines as “At this distance of thirty six million miles, you are observing the sun at two percent of its total brightness.” Captivating.
Other songs aren’t as sample heavy as “Sunshine,” but none of them are as interesting. Across Initializing Irreversible Process, there’s a near complete lack of emotional content and dynamic structure, and when “Operator Nr 3” ends, it’s a welcome but completely unexpected relief. When any song ends when it does is beyond me, and a total riff-shuffling of the album would be almost unnoticeable. More than anything, these songs seem written by the most unerring and uncreative rhythm guitarists of the world, devoid of interesting content and entirely content in simply being played precisely.
In a month when Jute Gyte drops an album to remind the metal world just how interesting and musically transgressive metal can be, Initializing Irreversible Process is simply not worth listeners’ time. This album is a chore to parse and no more rewarding after multiple listens. It has no groove, no melody, no tension, and no purpose. I highly recommend that you spend your time on something else, as there’s no dearth of great material from 2016 to catch up on, as the crowded field for our May Record of the Month suggestions can demonstrate. Regular readers, I implore you to exercise the trust in me that we’ve built over the few years. You and I both know that below these parting sentences will rest a youtube video, which you can view in order to determine whether or not you agree with my assessment. You don’t have to click on it.