A few years ago, his majesty Steel Druhm reviewed Insense’s, Burn in Beautiful Fire, and hated the shit out of it, incensing many a fanboy. It was, according to him, “third-rate metalcore with all the emo/screamo pap that goes along with that craptastic style”, and by the end of the review he was ready to build a church out of copies of the album just to trick Varg Vikernes into beautifully turning them all to ash. Naturally, Steel never wants to hear a single chug out of these Norwegians again, so the task of reviewing De:Evolution has plummeted down the totem pole into my hopeful hands. “Hooray!” comes the cry of the fans, “Surely this new reviewer will bring justice to our beloved Insense, and right the wrongs of that petulant website which we shall not name.” Or will he…?
He won’t. De:Evolution is a farce. Had this album not been as bad as it is, I might have gone back and listened to the last album, just to make another cheap joke about the title being predictive of this offering’s relative quality, but that fruit is so low hanging that its underside is picking up grass stains and I’m not putting myself through anything more than I have to. The goal of this document is to prevent you from wasting 41 minutes of your life on this album. If you were faced with a sort of Faustian bargain between not listening to De:Evolution in your entire life and listening to it once in its entirety locked in a room with it, unable to stop it, I want you to know that you should walk away. How this situation might arise, I don’t know, but Obama still hasn’t closed Gitmo and I’m pretty sure that’s something they do there.
For those of you who aren’t captive enemies of the United States Government, a longer explanation of this album’s failings is required. I’ll begin at the “[Part I-] Conception” of this drivel, which is – and I have done my best to get an accurate number here without counting through the whole thing – a string of 258 quarter notes. If you took the shittiest breakdown ever written and stretched it over a minute and a half, you’d more or less replicate this opener perfectly. It’s so phenomenally uninteresting that it’s actually fascinating, albeit in a purely theoretical sense. “Part I- Conception” is to music as falling asleep on your keyboard is to literature. Add on to the idiotic guitar line an equally uninteresting drum part and a singer that sounds like the unholy spawn of James Hetfield and a post-hardcore frontman, and you’ve got a pretty damning track.
Thankfully, the rest of the album isn’t as bad as this, but it doesn’t get a whole lot better. “Meandering” starts to set things straight again, with more distinct riffs, but it’s short and feels rushed, making the hopeful midsection uninspiring. It’s miles ahead of the first track, but that just makes it average. The opening riff on “Radio” is gleefully dissonant, and the track’s midsection features crunchy high-end leads, making for a somewhat enjoyable song.
The rest of the album never reaches the black pit of failure from whence it sprang, but it continues to be annoying and repetitive. The basic building blocks are tasteless chugs, simplistic and repetitive high-end leads, and throwaway, thrashy, one-note metalcore backing riffs. To their credit, Insense is making music that isn’t easy to categorize, but that’s primarily because there’s no genre tag for metalcore this uneventful and repetitive. The sole interesting point on the album consists of a 10-second bass break on “Procreational Ill,” which is of course set up by guitar chugs. The singer doesn’t help the case, belting out Sally Sob-story lyrics in his whiny clean singing and tough-guy tirades in his tough-guy hardcore yells.
The bottom line is that De:Evolution is a boring collection of uninspired songs that introduces its own tropes only to make them into clichés while exemplifying the worst parts of modern metalcore. It’s over-hyped, uninventive, rhythmically monotonous and lyrically pathetic, and I hate it just as much as Steel Druhm hated the last album. There is no reason to listen to this when so many bands are putting out really good albums and making great music without relying on the Anders Friden hype machine to make themselves known. This is bad.