Written By: Dr. A.N. Grier
I was quite intrigued when I grabbed the promo for Resumed’s debut album Alienations for two reasons: they’re technical death metal and they’re Italian. However, when I hit the play button expecting to find some spaghetti-flavored Origin (or something equivalent), I instead found the other kind of tech death. You know, the kind linked to words like “jazz,” “fusion,” “funk,” and “virtuoso playing.” Admittedly, this style of technical death is not my favorite, but it turns out Resumed can shred virtuously. Not the best song writing in the world but the musicianship of each member is astounding. Let the wanking begin!
I have to say the first reference that came to mind as opening track “Dead Inside” powered forward was Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance-era Death. The similarities tend to be in the realm of the heaviness, chords, and arrangements of Chuck’s last two albums. Other references come in the form of the Johnny Hedlund-meets-John Tardy croaks delivered by Daniele Presutti (which, unfortunately, he delivers without much variation in every song). Resumed’s technicality can be described as seamless transitions through varying time changes, alternating riffs, and impressive soloing that reminds me of John Petrucci at times. Slower passages and interludes are filled with sustaining guitars, crystal clear bass leads, and frills (and fills) courtesy of drummer Filippo Tirabass.
However, what really shines on Alienations is undoubtedly Giulia Pallozzi’s bass. Be it her ability to slap out some bass leads on songs like “Alienation” and “Predicting the Future” or settle into the rhythm section (like a normal bassist) in “U.F.O.” and “Seeking Perfection,” her bass is the concrete that holds the songs together. Yes, I said songs. Thankfully, Resumed is one of those tech death bands that focuses more on song structures and less on guitar wankery (even though Resumed wanks a lot). Equally impressive is Tirabass’s drum performance as he breezes through song complexities with every drum and cymbal in his arsenal. He does everything from beating and blasting his way through death marches to tap-dancing along the tops of his cymbals through ever-changing riffs and herky-jerky stops and starts.
“Predicting the Future” is a good example of what this dynamic duo can do as they lead the charge with a jazzy Atheist intro that builds and expands into a Death-esque progginess full of chugging guitars, bass licks that ascend and descend the fretboard and soaring solos. Conversely, “U.F.O.” finds the technicality sitting in the background, pulling the song along at lightning speed in good old-fashioned death metal fashion. These two songs show the extremes of what I’m talking about but are by no means the only songs that mix it up. Each song finds the band showing off what they can do and it’s pretty damn impressive.
However, as with most of these tech/prog metal bands, the riffs are a necessity for creating memorable songs that avoid becoming a long drawn-out mass of squealing, finger-tapping, rosewood-burning boredom. For the most part, this is achieved. With stomping death riffs of the title track, cool galloping guitars on “Into the Trip,” and the crushing brutality found buried in “Seeking Perfection,” every song is chockfull of riffs, riffs and more riffs, making them denser than a holiday fruit cake. Other examples include the massive death riffs, Dream Theater-inspired solo sections, and jazz-influenced interludes found on “Alienations,” as well as the droning opening riff of “Secret in Mind,” which morphs into a death metal assault before finally spinning out into spacey weirdness. Oh, and don’t forget about all the goddamn solos. Seriously, what’s a fruitcake without some icing? Guitarists Daniele Presutti and Carlo Alfonso Pelino do nothing short of impress with their carpal-tunnel inducing wizardry. I swear they incorporate every note into their six-string assaults on “Predicting the Future,” “Into the Trip,” and “Secret in Mind.”
In the end, I guess the real icing here is the production. While this may not be my favorite type of metal, it is definitely my favorite type of sound. Rich and full, you can hear everything in this DR10 journey. Smashing the dynamics would have completely ruined this album. Good choice on the mix, guys. So, you feeling techy? Looking for a good sounding album? If so, check this out.
Written By: Diabolus in Muzaka
Technical Death Metal is pretty great in theory: blistering speed, pulverizing heaviness, and death metal’s knack for sharpened (meat)hooks. Unfortunately, these three assets don’t always coalesce into a nicely unified package, and tech-death often becomes a pissing contest akin to ridiculous analytic philosophy: who can leave their contemporaries in the dust the fastest through sheer technicality? When it’s done right, it can produce great results (Obscura, Cryptopsy, etc.), but when it is done wrong, as it is at an alarming rate, we end up with anything from a disappointing waste of talent (Necrophagist’s Epitaph), warp-speed dog shit (Brain Drill), or worse: a crippling case of style over substance. Italian tech-death newcomers Resumed have the style, but do they possess the substance to make their debut release Alienations a worthwhile addition into a tech-death fan’s library of sphere adorned album art and space-related titles?
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Resumed are talented musicians. Carlo Pelino and Daniele Presutti’s guitars shred all over the place, Filippo Tirabassi’s drums are tight and precise to a fault, and Giulia Pallozzi’s bass playing is, from a technical standpoint, excellent. They also really enjoyed the two final Death albums, and decided to write the eight songs that comprise Alienations in that vein. Unfortunately, they’re not nearly as adept at writing Death songs as Death was (an understandable fault), and the 41 minutes of metal here all whiz by with nothing at all memorable to encourage repeat listening.
That’s not to say there’s absolutely nothing good here, because there is on occasion: “Predicting the Future” has a solid bass/guitar solo tradeoff that really works, but its impact is lessened after the intro to the song itself, which was so similar to “Zero Tolerance” that I just felt like listening to Death instead. Opening track “Dead Inside” begins the album well enough and sucked me in for a couple of minutes, but a lack of memorability and sense of direction transform it into a slog. “Into the Trip” begins with a riff that actually does an okay job at approximating the more intense parts of Symbolic, but Resumed leans on it a bit too much, overplaying it to the point where it becomes almost irritating.
While Resumed play unmemorable tech-death for 41 minutes, at least they sound great doing it. The production by Tirabassi is well-rounded and sports an excellent mastering job, with each instrument being audible and clear and no clipping whatsoever. Guitars are precise and tight, if a tad airy in sound, and Pallozzi’s bass has a tasty, ever-so-slightly overdriven tone that punches through the mix, showcasing her skill wonderfully. Tirabassi’s drum work is a treat to listen to, with each and every note coming through clearly. Special mention should be made of his kick drum, which occupies the happy middle between click and thud, avoiding the dreaded “typewriter kick” that too often plagues modern death metal. Vocals, on the other hand, are a bit too high in the mix, which serves to amplify their fatal flaw: they’re boring. It’s impressive that Presutti is playing guitar while growling, but his vocal patterns seem tacked on and his growl is monotonous, lacking in power and intensity. The vocals seem to be there for the sole reason that metal songs tend to have vocals most of the time, and as such, end up adding a boring percussive element to Resumed’s otherwise blistering technical attack.
The most difficult aspect of listening to Alienations is that it has all of the trappings of an excellent tech-death album: great instrumental performances, tons of “betcha can’t play this” solos, bass fills at least once a minute, fast but not totally monotonous drums, and a great production that lets the music hit hard whilst giving it ample room to breathe. What ended up happening was akin to going to a five star restaurant and being handed a day old McDouble on a silver platter: the window dressing is there, but the most important part is bad, and I don’t want to experience it again.