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Acrania - Totalitarian Dystopia

Totalitarian Dystopia
by Daniel Fox at 06 October 2014, 9:40 PM

There's heavy music that snaps your neck; heavy music that deftly weaves in melody; heavy music that mesmerises one with its technicality; then, heavy music that excuses 3-minute chugga-chug bree-skrees in the name of brutality. UK Deathcore outfit ACRANIA is a strange act to grace my ears, in that it sits somewhat uncomfortably in the middle of all 4, according to my (obviously) largely-generalised stereotypings.

I wanted to enjoy this; I really did. Relatively impressive for a three-piece, they prove time and again, throughout the record, that they have the musical chops; you wouldn't notice it from the opening track, "Hollow". Beginning, progressing and ending, exactly as I thought it would, it is filled to the brim with riffs emphasising singular, drawn-out open-string attacks, occasionally broken in by the equally unfretted series of chugs. A few moments of high-intensity are scattered around, sounding just as exquisite as something off an ABORTED record. Thoroughly bored to death, I pressed on, and was rewarded. Perusals through tracks such as the title track and "Servants Of Hypocrisy" revealed well-constructed, masterfully produced and precision-executed series of riffs that deviated between slow heaviness and spine-ripping speed. Even the vocals soon escaped the 'bree-skree' soundscape that a fair few bands in the genre find themselves stuck in.

I can't help but appreciate the work put into the production and musicianship on parts of this record; the bass cuts through like a knife and provides interesting dynamics in otherwise-boring breakdown passages, and the instrumental performance is capable of satisfying both slammers and fretheads. I would dare to toss around the word 'inconsistent' a lot, however; many of the songs I could not fully enjoy; "Lobotomise, Dehumanise, Negative. \[LDN]" and "Messiah Of Manipulation" prime examples, entirely dependent on how much of the tracks' short play time were taken up by dull and boring breakdowns. Obviously, my personal tastes are doing the talking; I am fully aware that there are people that appreciate these arrangements, and musicians that have a lot of fun playing them.

I'd like to enjoy this album, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot. Unfortunately, it's not simply that the album has a couple of boring filler tracks; there are a number of mind-blowing performances, but do not seem to stand out amidst an otherwise boring, homogenous soundscape.

3 Star Rating

1. Hollow
2. Festering With Dishonesty
3. Totalitarian Dystopia
4. Servants Of Hypocrisy
5. Survival Sequence
6. A Gluttonous Abomination
7. Susceptible To Retinal Reprogrammability
8. Lobotomise, Dehumanise, Negate. \[LDN]
9. Messiah Of Manipulation
10. Disillusion In A Discordant System
Luke Griffin - Vocals
Jack Simmons - Guitar
Jake Hadley - Drums
Record Label: Unique Leader Records


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