It is always admirable when a band strives to be unique and set itself apart from the throngs of identical Metal acts. Unfortunately for THEATER OF THE ABSURD, sometimes a band’s attempts at individuality can lead to its reach far exceeding its grasp, and this self-titled debut is a definite example. The poorly-recorded and strained vocals bare more of a resemblance to an ill-conceived parody of “Extreme” Metal genres rather than a legitimate effort at quality. The title track ends with a more melodic singing, which fares better, but even just a few minutes into the album it is too little too late. Regrettably, “Isles Of Judgment” contains examples of both vocal styles venturing far into the realm of ludicrous and unlistenable.
There are sporadic instances of unique instrumentation, including some Asian string instruments. It is strange then that THEATER OF THE ABSURD sometimes sees fit to use these instruments at totally random times and with what appears to be no forethought whatsoever. When the strings come in on the title track, it is as if the band recorded the instruments in the studio then selected a random and arbitrary point in the album to shove them in. There are some jazz-inspired parts in “The Raincatcher,” as well as interwoven keyboard segments. When the vocals are absent, these are the most inspired sections on "Theater Of The Absurd", and one can only wish there was more of them.
It is sad that a group with as much courage as THEATER OF THE ABSURD (“The Human Puddle” integrates a traditional Japanese bamboo flute in a Metal instrumental flourish for God’s sake) does not have the skill to properly focus its bravado. Perhaps with time and increased production values, the band can produce something truly noteworthy…instead of just messy.
(Online March 4, 2008)