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Tensiion – Subterfuge EP

Subterfuge EP
by Andrew Graham at 03 June 2021, 1:04 AM

Brisbane-based Australian deathgroovers TENSIION unleash a total bastard of a release with all the stomping good fun of genre practitioners like BURN THE PRIEST or FEAR FACTORY. Mixed in with catchy grooves and clever play with timing is all the death metal brutality one would expect of a release. Combined, the listener is utterly charmed with the brains and brawn on display and taken on one hell of a ride! The overall effect is deeply satisfying if tantalisingly short, I suspect (and hope!) that a new release from these chaps is not too far off on the horizon.

“Complicit” opens the proceedings with much pomp and severity, with delicious grooves that set the standard for this release. Chugging riffs, breakdowns and Travis’ harsh vocals drive this track along like an out of control freight train. “Dead Weight” bounces between a comparatively mellow tempo and more conventional fast-paced death metal groove. They begin to play with time signatures mid-track with a straightforward but compulsively rocking riff that combines to create a real high point on the album! “Dissimulation” almost sounds like TOOL for a brief moment – indeed the use of odd timing throughout gives it almost a proggy quality. Again, I cite BURN THE PRIEST, whose debut album was full of this kind of playfulness with timing – truly one of the most memorable features of what is, I argue, an underrated classic.

“End Transmission” opens with an almost Frank Klepacki sound – one could well imagine this intro featuring in one of the classic Command & Conquer soundtracks! After this the stops are all pulled out and what remains of the listener is pummelled to death in the resulting aural assault! Closing the album is a cover of NEGATIVE APPROACH’S “Friend Or Foe” – the corresponding mix of deathgroove and punk resulting in a delightful crossover sound; something comparatively light to serve as a palate cleanser!

What a delightful way to spend a quarter of an hour! There’s very little to fault here, other than the near absence of bass – resulting in a slightly sparse low-frequency range which sounds like it needs to be filled. But this is nit-picking (admittedly this is sort of my thing!) To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “I hope I am not perfect. It would leave no room for improvement.” This is a fantastic release from a couple of seriously talented gents who clearly enjoy their craft and relish in the (I think criminally) underappreciated groove sound!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Complicit
2. Dead Weight
3. Dissimulation
4. End Transmission
5. Friend Or Foe (Negative Approach Cover)
Travis McLeod – Vocals
Phill Corpe – Guitars, drum programming
Record Label: Independent


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