Precambrian (Metal Blade)
By Martin Popoff
The paperwork is almost too much. Forsooth, the album is called Precambrian, but then it’s two discs, one called Hadean/Archaean (had to use that slash, didn’t you?), the other called Proterozoic. Curiously, five tracks on the first one (22 minutes – sorta pressed like a CD single), nine on the second (62 minutes), all with titles like those hard to spell words above. Plus, there are 26 serious brow-furrowing noiseniks in this German band, or live, five to nine, or really on the constant tip, only two. No pictures, and basically nothing for graphics. But once inside the music, one is surprised by immediate, societal, understandable lyric concepts, written with a stinging Hemingway-esque slap of an economic pen. Vocals roar, the music evokes the polluted decibel wonderment of Isis and Neurosis, but again, mostly it’s heavy metal with a slide rule and pocket protector forcefully moving forward, vocals on top, and really quite accessible, especially if you are reading along. New Canadian hopefuls Alpha Galates comes to mind, but mostly given a shared intense ambition. Disc two exhibits more mellowness and elasticity (and cello and piano and sorrowful doom), but I suppose you can’t Meshuggah-a-go-go forever. Production is surprisingly clear and accessible with tight snare, a nice compromise against the band’s two lobes of prog (agitation and listlessness).