REVIEW: ABNORMALITY – “Mechanisms of Omniscience”
When it comes to more technical death metal, it’s always great to hear a band that can balance technicality with groove and understand that the two don’t have to be entirely separate. In terms of the band in question today, their sound is hard-hitting, raw, and aggressive as all hell. When I first heard Abnormality, I was reminded of Cerebral Bore, in the fact that they were a technical band with a female front who delivered low-pitched vocals. I think that it’s awesome to see a female front that can crush the growls and low pitches like Mallika Sundaramurthy can. It proves that you don’t have to be a grizzly bear of a man to make scary cookie monster noises that sound brutal and badass in front of heavy guitar riffs. Signed with Metal Blade Records, ‘Mechanisms of Omniscience’ is their second full-length album, following ‘Contaminating the Hive Mind’ released in 2012.
‘Mechanisms of Omniscience’ starts off screaming with a high-tempo riff and blasts out the gate. The technical riff work still manages to maintain a really catchy hook that is easy to headbang to. On the track “Synthetic Pathogenesis”, you’re hit with blasts of dissonance between the grooves, which creates a awesome layered feel and adds more dimension to the music. It seems like their general pattern is groovy rhythm with a trill to break up each measure, which makes the music really easy to follow and groove to. I’d imagine their live shows would be pretty great, given how quickly you can pick up the rhythm of the tracks. It would make for some great moshing music.
‘Mechanisms of Omniscience’ also kind of bothers me, honestly. At first, I didn’t catch it, but after a few listens through, it feels eerily similar to “Synthetic Pathogenesis”, albeit just shuffled around a bit. Maybe it’s just me, but the first riffs for sure – and a few others intermittently throughout the track – come across to me as regurgitated or reused from the previous two, and this is only track three. I have noticed this through most of the album, actually. A lot of the grooves seem to pop up more than once in multiple songs, which isn’t a bad thing per say; it just happens often enough to catch my attention.
After a few listen-throughs, the album seems to lose a bit of its edge and texture. I still enjoy listening to it, but the tracks begin to blend together and I now have a harder time telling them apart. It feels like the band has three speeds: balls to the wall, slow and droning, somewhere in between, and that’s it. I think the band has perhaps over calculated the technicality of their music and not looked hard enough at the big picture. “Assimilation” is an interesting track; it is slow and droning with no vocals, and is basically two riffs in one entire song. Getting back from the negative, the album is very well structured, mixed, and produced. The drumming is damn good as well: very clean and technical, with great transitions and fills.
All in all, ‘Mechanisms of Omniscience’ is a solid sophomore record for Abnormality. It’s a great mix of technicality and groove that you can really move to, and which would make for a great live show. I do think some of the material is overused, but that’s not much of an issue. Hopefully, the touring goes well and Metal Blade gets them back into the studio so we don’t have to wait until 2020 to hear more from the band!