You love metal. Of course you do – why else would you be here. But do you love geometric riffs that crush on command? How about vitriolic vocals laced with the kind of venom to strip flesh from bone? And what about those solos, skillful and dynamic with enough bombast to shiver spines the world over. Now, how about a group of Danes playing a core influenced brand of djent that flails at Meshuggah on the verses and Fear Factory on the choruses? No? Me neither, but The Interbeing do. Their second record, Among The Amorphous, is full of it; so sit back, don’t bother to keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle, because you, my friends, are in for an indistinct ride of poultry proportions. When Lovecraft’s Nemesis reported to have “seen the dark universe yawning,” had he turned up ten tracks earlier, he would have known why.
Billed as progressive technical metal, I had hoped for something akin to the much missed Xerath, who seamlessly managed to amalgamate vague djent influences with genuine progression and innovative orchestration. What The Interbeing play is a comparatively dull facsimile of the two pioneering bands previously mentioned, and not a lot more. Polyrhythmic mid-paced riffing – ubiquitous metalcore vocals – industrial Burton C. Bell love letter choruses – repeat ad infinitum/nauseam. Whether or not this is a winning formula is for you to decide, after all, I’m no stranger to differences of taste, but from opener “Spiral Into Existence” through the record’s culmination, nary a drop of deviation descends. Among The Amorphous is apparently a concept album, detailing what seems to be an existential-come-self-discovery tale dressed up in sci-fi. Again, a little more musical variety to match the narrative, and it may have been more perceptible; as it is, had I not researched the record for sake of review, it would likely have (blissfully) passed me by entirely.
Vocalist, Dara Toibin, deserves some appreciation for doing his level best to elevate the material, as much as he’s able, above Boas Segel and Damien Anthony Hinchliffe’s narcoleptic riff-craft. Although his harsh vocals aren’t worthy of mention, he is deceptively versatile, alternating between angsty melodicism and baritone chanting, imparting the admittedly memorable choruses with well developed vocal lines. What ability giveth, however, ability may taketh away. “Deceptive Signal” is one of the album’s better cuts, with a fine chorus that showcases Toibin’s clean delivery – bizarre and horrifying, then is the aberration that intervals “Borderline Human;” a refrain of Korn/Adema proportions that sees Toibin adopting a grimly familiar nu nasal vocal, well and truly pricing me out. Had The Interbeing stopped practicing Meshuggah‘s signature, a cursive they aren’t all that able to forge, and focused more on the industrial elements they do engineer well, a la Dark Tranquillity‘s Character, perhaps this would have been a different story.
For those involved, it’s clear the record represents a labor of love. The ever-present synths and enviable production have been meticulously etched into the record’s disposition – and yet despite the effort involved, I struggle to bring to mind a single riff. The album’s second half packs the most heft, igniting “Purge the Deviant” with a rhythm increasingly similar to that of At The Gates‘ “Suicide Nation” before abandoning it all too soon. Similarly, “Sum of Singularity” lets a tasty melodeath riff off the chain for a few sparse seconds before, again, relegating it in favor of more homogeneous djent, leaving me to wait in the hope it might come back around. Suffering from riff-related blue balls is no way to live your life.
Among The Amorphous is a definitively modern record and one that prematurely aged me as I found myself longing for days of riffs gone by. There’s no doubt, however, that my opinion will be an unpopular one; there are those whose banal box this will well and truly tick, full of thick rhythms and contemporary sheen. But for a band so apparently able, after the immediacy of the choruses wore off, I found increasingly little traction in the rest of the material and, frankly, less and less inclination to seek any out. If this does somehow appeal, you could do worse than investigate the bands The Interbeing clearly revere – as for me, if anybody needs me, I’ll be sulking somewhere in 1986, drafting a cautionary letter to Tomas Haake – one that begins with something along the lines of: “With great power comes great responsibility…”
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Long Branch Records
Websites: theinterbeing.bandcamp.com | theinterbeing.com | facebook.com/theinterbeing
Releases Worldwide: June 23rd, 2017