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Believer - 'Transhuman'

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Believer - Transhuman

Believer - Transhuman

Metal Blade Records
For a brief time around the release of 1990‘s Sanity Obscure, Believer briefly threatened to attain the same cult status as fellow tech-thrashers like Atheist, but for whatever reason it never quite happened and Believer has remained a largely unknown quantity to all but the most dedicated of underground fans. If Transhuman is your first experience of the band since those heady days, be prepared for a few surprises.

Although traces of the high speed thrash remain on tracks like “Transfection” and “Ego Machine,” the Believer of 2011 is a very different beast; a beast that has decided to hunt its prey without adherence to any rule book and in doing so has created an album which pretty much defies any sort of genre pigeon-holing.

Of course you get your fair share of metal – make no mistake, this is a heavy record – and yes, the band still produce some dizzying moments of musical technicality, but it’s the subtle stylistic nuances that make Transhuman such a successful venture.

Adding color to some of the most bewildering – yet crushing – riffs you could ask for, are engaging elements of industrial, psychedelic and soundtrack music, courtesy of a host of programmed synths and sympathetic keyboards that confirm Believer as well and truly ahead of the pack.

Forming the foundation of this exercise in intelligent extremity is the muscular rhythm section of Elton Nestler (Bass) and Joey Daub (Drums) who excel as individuals, but become truly all-conquering as a unit. The water-tight rhythmic interplay of tracks like the moody album closer “Mindsteps” and the intricate “Multiverse” is incredibly inventive without ever veering too close to self-indulgence. It’s prog for sure, but probably not as we know it.

The vocals of Kurt Bachman also deserve special mention. Although off-kilter and heavily processed in places, they retain a very real warmth and character, which is both distinctive and perfectly suited to Believer’s expansive take on modern metal in all its forms.

If you’re looking for a quick fix of hot n’heavy headbanging action, you might want to pass on this one. But if you’re looking for proof that metal can still be challenging, demanding and wildly creative, Transhuman is highly recommended.

(Released April 12, 2011 on Metal Blade Records)

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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