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Droid - Terrestrial Mutations

Droid
Terrestrial Mutations
by Martin Knap at 30 July 2018, 6:16 PM

Something funny happened to me when writing about DROID‘s new release “Terrestrial Mutations”: I have mistaken it for a re-issue and listened to it for two weeks thinking that this is some half-forgotten Thrash release from the 80s. Soon I was wondering who these guys were and how did they fall through the cracks and never made a name for themselves among Canadian Thrash bands like VOIVOD, ANNIHILATOR, or RAZOR. As it turnes out, this release is actually DROID’s debut album that came out last year. The visual aesthetics and the band’s sound are so perfectly of the 80s though, that they create an almost perfect illusion of the golden era of Thrash Metal.

DROID’s influences are quite obviously technical or progressive Thrash bands like VOIVOD, VECTOR or CORONER, which means riff-laden songs and long instrumental sections. The first two songs on the album are short and fast, somewhat reminiscent of early VOIVOD. It is the third song “Abandon Celestial State” that is quite dynamic and adventurous in terms of structure. Before the shouts and fast riffing come in there is quite an elaborate intro; the body of the song is simple and aggressive, but there is a long instrumental mid-section that shifts between laid-back, smooth tones and MEGADEATH-like fast riffing. In the body of the almost ten minutes long title song we get a nice contrast between an aggressive verse and a laid-back, melancholic chorus that features clears singing (it’s one of the few parts with clear singing); the instrumental mid-section is packed with captivating guitar playing, which is by no means an exception this record.

The following songs, except the last song “Mission Drift”, are shorter, but only one is bellow the five minute mark. The 1 hour and 7 minutes long album closes with a ten minutes monster of a song where we find an almost dizzying array of riffs and licks of which the band seems to have an unlimited supply. It is also one of the most instrumental songs on the album, the singing not being much in the forefront here. Other songs do have memorable vocal hooks, but overall DROID is very much an instrument-oriented band. My quibble about the album would actually be the vocals: the singer seems to have studied well the mannerisms of Trash vocalist of the long bygone eras, but his shouts can be a bit monotonous. I would welcome some more variety and character. The retro character of the record is brought to perfection by the production, which sounds old-school, but suits the music well.

DROID have set out to play Technical Thrash and they are quite capable of pulling it off. The band is technically very skilled, but the technicality on this record doesn’t come at the expense of good song-writing and memorability. As far as I’m concerned, this album will stay in rotation.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8
 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Amorphous Forms (Shapeless Shadows)
2. Suspended Animation
3. Abandoned Celestial State
4. Terrestrial Mutation
5. Pain of Reincarnation
6. Temptations of Terminal Progress
7. Cosmic Debt
8. Excommunicated
9. Mission Drift
Lineup:
Sebastian Alcamo - Drums
Jacob Montgomery - Vocals, Guitars
Michael Gabor – Bass
Record Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
     


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Edited 18 September 2019
 

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