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Believer, Transhuman
Metal Blade Records, April 12

05/19/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



In life nowadays you often run into older and not-so-older peeps who seriously believe hard rock died around the time the original lineups of Sabbath and Zeppelin broke up. Fans aren’t alone — a friend of mine who, like me, writes about all this hopeless rock ’n’ roll stuff, is only listening to oldies these days, this after feeling punked by newer/crummier depleted-soil hard-rock bands, who mostly glom onto one simple Sabbath/Molly Hatchet/Rush idea and wing the rest of it. Being slightly more of an optimist, I’ve tried turning old-school hard-liners on to newer heavy-leaning bands, something you should only try at home when the bands you’re pushing are world-class, which, to my mind, spells Meshuggah, Baroness, Minus The Bear, Acumen Nation and a very small handful of others, but Believer, who have been in the prog-metal game for over 20 years now, are pretty close. The vocals are a shape-changing combination of Offspring, Sam Kinison screeching and Minus the Bear, the stuff underneath which is quite technical, lots of time-sig-changes that I’m sure one could grow to like if one got to know them. My main problem with this stuff is the overuse of muted chug-chug chords, that old Jake E. Lee shtick that’s basically a confession that the ideas are only half thought out — melody or no melody, there is no try. I only mention this album for the benefit of open-minded rivetheads who’ve been dipping toes into the new-jack water, which, in this instance, is fine if not unforgettable. A-

—Eric W. Saeger
 






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