When you are already an experimental sounding band that are either highly praised or harshly scrutized like MNEMIC are (still don’t understand how Metal Archives just writes them off as being ‘not Metal enough’), it’s a ballsy move to become even more experimental. Yet, that seems to be what MNEMIC has decided to do on their fourth future fusion Metal release, “Sons Of The System”.
Of course, as a long time fan of MNEMIC, I have this innate connection with the band’s style that instantly triggers an effect of appreciation in me. Their polyrhythmatic punches of Progressive timings and drawn out quick to change writing balances drastically with their tendency for melodic keys/samples and Pop-esque choral arrangements and they never really lose that even on this fourth album. MESHUGGAH riffs mixed with catchy singing moments, wicked drum change ups from blast beats to swing patterns, growling roars, atmospheric Gothic keys, and overt sense of fucking with a listeners’ expectations all make their appearances on the album (as with all of their albums) and quite honestly – it’s the reason why these Danes are so damn good. If you are fan of their material, then you will at least find a handful of tracks to devour here.
Diversity is in full demand on this album too. And not just in the form of separate songs, but all songs have tons of diversity in them. For example, “Diesel Uterus” starts off heavy as hell but turns light and melodic by midway through and songs do this quite often. The only truly off setting track is the long drawn out and overly atmospheric “March Of The Tripods” that borders on Gothic a time or two.
Their somewhat lackluster third album, “Passenger” retains its presence here, but feels moreover improved upon in blue print. My main issue/intrigue with “Sons Of The System” has to be its more organic approach to their writing. They have always been known for their quick and clean switch ups from melody to brutal rhythms. On this album, they just flow in a smoother form than ever before. Oh, they still like to throw you for a few loops here and there, just listen to the title track as it starts off with a bombardment and scream and ends up being a sing-a-long melodic driven song by chorus, but overall the band just blends a lot smoother. I was expecting a bit more harsher tones on this album and the band doesn’t necessarily cave in on them. It’s a blessing as the band shows that they can do it without sounding like they try at all, but I kind of miss their almost mechanical FEAR FACTORY tones that their previous releases had.
I must also mention that Gillaume Bideau, with his massive range on vocal duty, seems to be blending and melding better with MNEMIC on this album. His debut on last album was solid but not quite there, and it’s nice to hear him starting to jive and spark with the intensity and vision of the rest of this Modern Metal monster. His performance on “Sons Of The System” is far superior than that on the last and as a fan, I appreciate that.
All in all, “Sons Of The System” was a nice step up and move in the right direction for MNEMIC. It’s experimental in its more fluid sound and cohesive approach to writing, but it works more often than not and despite some filler tracks, is an extremely solid release. As a fan I am pleased with this album more than I expected. MNEMIC is still one of the most unique and pleasant bands out there to date and “Sons Of The System” is further proof of their relevance and underrated worth in Metal.
Songs to check out: “Diesel Uterus”, “Climbing Towards Stars”, “Hero(in)”.
(Online March 23, 2010)