The Bridal Procession are a death metal band with orchestral stylings from Paris, France. If you go to their Last.fm page, the first thing you see on there is someone writing “Behemoth 2.0.” What’s funny about this was exactly my response when I heard the introduction of this album, which has an Egyptian sounding orchestral introduction followed up with a vocal introduction that was ripped straight off from “Slaves Shall Serve” (a track from Behemoth‘s Demigod, if you’re not familiar). This did not raise my expectations very high, to be totally honest. And, because of that I never had time to get disappointed by the mediocrity, and more frankly, unoriginality that followed.
However, of all of the critiques that one could level at The Bridal Procession, questionable band name, overselling the band with an album title that does not actually represent the proportions of the music contained within, heaviness isn’t something you need to be worried about. Because of the band’s similarity to Behemoth and Septicflesh, Astronomical Dimensions is a balls-to-the-wall endeavor that rarely breaks away from blasts and guttural vocals. The tracks are laden with soft synths (they must be since the band seems to lack a keyboard player), giving it an early Dimmu Borgir flavor at times and this can be hit or miss (they take a big whiff in “Obsolete Machines” where they are extraordinarily cheesy). For example, on the track “Shroud of the End,” it works fantastically. While the vocalist does his best Trevor Strnad impression, the keyboards beat out a beautiful piano part.
And the musicianship here is pretty good in general, but where the band suffers is actually songwriting. For the most part they never break out of being derivative and fairly banal. They’re not bad songs by any means. I really enjoyed the title track “Astronomical Dimensions,” though that’s not fair because there are no vocals on it, but the song really actually encompassed the title and feel before bringing it down to a more personal clean part. I loved the track “Obsolete Machines,” which is the one time when the band really breaks out of feeling derivative and delivers something truly outstanding. They continue showing similarities to Rotting Christ, Behemoth and Septicflesh, but the main riff is just groovy as hell and the pre-chorus is just seriously powerful before the cheesy keyboards jump all over the atmosphere of it.
But aside from those two real moments of excellence, Astronomical Dimensions is a fairly mediocre affair. In fact, the band feels a bit like deathcore guys who have sort of reformed from their deathcore ways to form a death metal band (I call it Reformcore! and win the labeling race), this shows up in the choppy writing and the occasional breakdowns, including my personal favorite, where the vocalist screams “Fucked to death!” about 20 times over karate inducing chuggity chugchugchug [rest] chuggity chugchugchug. On top of this, the production is really not very good. The drums are hyper-replaced and obviously fake, or even a drum machine, and the bass is almost entirely inaudible in the mix. I listen to these records in monitors, and this is the first professionally done record that I’ve received where the mix balance is this off. Even in the clean part of “Astronomical Dimensions” where there is just bass and guitar, you can still hardly hear the bass.
So yeah, this isn’t bad really, it’s just not that good. If you get your hands on it, you will most certainly bob your head at times and you might even find a few things you dig. But the actual material isn’t really terribly memorable and the only thing I come away with is that in the track “Flesh to Flesh” it sounds like he screams “ALL WE HAVE LEFT IS BREAKDANCE!” If that’s the biggest impression it left on me, then this is probably something you can skip.
I certainly plan on never listening to it again.