Thursday, February 16, 2012

Element - The Energy

I found Element in one of the most unlikely places. I was flipping through the bands signed on to the Brutal Bands record label on their website and after running my eyes across all of the chaotic illegible logos of bands whose names I probably couldn’t even pronounced, the name “Element” stood out to me. When I clicked on it I was surprised that this wasn’t another apocalypse/gore themed brutal death band. I saw the beautiful purple artwork of the planet that belonged to their most recent album release and I initially assumed that this was another sci-fi themed technical death band following that ever-expanding trend made popular by bands like The Faceless, Obscura, and Origin. I was yet again surprised when I heard their music that they aren’t anywhere near to being considered tech death. The one thing that people seem to like is when musicians and bands keep things unexpended and unpredictable.

I currently just have these guys under progressive death (not that it matters, just my way of keeping my music organized). I guess they would be closer to traditional death metal more than anything else, but yet they have that Augury-influenced atmospheric feel that only a handful of other metal bands have done. I guess a generalized summary of my opinion on this is that this is one of the best progressive death albums I’ve heard since Opeth’s Watershed.

The opening track isn’t what I would consider to be a full song, but not an intro either. The reason why is because most of the song is taken up by an indescribable tone of atmosphere and ambience that for some reason PERFECTLY sets the mood for the rest of the album. It then blends into a weird sounding guitar part that reminds me so much of Augury which leads into the full lineup of the band showing you that they can do things no one else has even thought of. The music that takes up the end of the first track is really abstract and has an extremely odd tempo with the bassist playing something that seems like a completely different song. Vexed is the next song that then introduces the vocalist’s demonic exhale growls that give the music its dark sound.

Whoever did the production and mixing on this album is a master. This is one of those albums that would sound like complete monkey poop if it had low production and sound quality. There seems to be almost no treble at all, with the rest being taken up by overpowering bass and mid-range. I haven’t come across very many other albums that would sound good with that equalizer setting, but this one definitely proves to be the best. The songs are far from boring; they’re constantly changing but stay simple enough not to confuse the ones newer to the genre. It seems that my love for this album grows more and more every time I listen to it, and I’ve listened to it A LOT. Let’s talk about the individual members.

The bassist is by far the best out of the bunch. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was the Obscura bassist playing a fretted bass. Although unfortunately it’s not, this bassist still deserves huge credit and should not stop what he’s doing. I think that Vexed and Centipede are the two songs that best demonstrate the bassist’s skill and talent which is actually better than I am able to describe. The guitarists are beyond amazing and are perfectly in synch with each other and the rest of the band. I mainly love all of the different sounds and effects they put on their guitars, especially in Everchanging. I’m not going to spend time describing the drummer’s style because the best way for you to understand his playing is to just listen to this record.

Here’s something for all of you power metal fans: listen to the last song on the album, Dreaming Forever, and tell me that it doesn’t have some kind of power metal influence somewhere in it. If there was singing on this song instead of growling in this song, it would make a great HEAVY power metal song! There aren’t any huge faults…or any faults at all that I can think of. Although the pros of this album are HUGE, they aren’t enough to earn a perfect score from me, because there is still room for a lot of improvement, especially in the vocals because they can get annoying when he’s screaming. I would give this album 18/20 and would recommend it to EVERYONE.