Friday, August 7, 2009


After a self imposed 16 year hiatus Believer have returned with a Masterpiece. End of review.

Just kidding! When I had heard that Believer was going to re-unite and put out a new disc to say I was excited would have been an understatement. I've been a fan ever since they sent a demo to the White Throne offices back in the late 80's, I was anxiously anticipating this release. Honestly I was hoping this would bowl me over like the first time I heard a pre-release of the debut album ‘Extraction from Mortality’.

When I heard the first single ‘Focused Lethality’ I was nearly banging my head into my desk and computer. Yet when I heard the second single ‘Stoned’ I wasn’t so sure at first. I shouldn’t have worried a bit.

Kurt Bachman and company have come up with a fabulous slab of progressive/technical/intense/thrash infectious metal. With his (in my mind) trade mark brutal guitar tone Kurt has really put it all out there on this one. Joey Daub is back with some pretty amazing drumming.

I can say that for me listening to this album is sorta like watching a Stanley Kubrick film. If you’ve ever seen any of Stanley Kubricks films you know exactly what I mean. Whether it’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, ‘The Shining’ or ‘2001: A Space Odyssey” you know there is layer upon layer of intricacy and depth. In this case Believer starts things off with the 7 minute tune ‘Medwton’ and the table is set. There is alternate strumming and upbeat and downbeat changes, whispers and background mythical sounding voices, keyboard samples for effect. It’s fast and off beat.

‘A Moment in Time’, ‘Redshift’, ‘A History of Decline’ all lend themselves to metal brutality that move and shift like chasing a vapor in a whirlwind blindfolded. Just when you think you know what’s coming it changes and the music path moves in another direction. ‘Redshift’ has a nice jazzy breakdown complete with piano, vocal samples, eerie keyboard samples just like your traveling through the depths of space itself. Yet again that fierce Believer guitar tone just tears it up. Heavy riffs and great songs make this a must get.
The more straight ahead thrash sounding material like ‘Focused Lethality’(a brutal slice of metal pie) and ‘Stoned’ (which itself has an off tempo piano component) are the odd pieces here because they are more straight through. These tunes will get the pit moving like a hurricane.

Jeff King (keyboards) has brought a new texture to the band. Don’t think I’m implying a heavy keyboard element I’m not. They add texture and depth, almost at times a gothic feel, to the material for the lyrical content. They also provide something else for Kurt’s vocal to belt over.

The last actual ‘song’ is ‘The Brave’ with Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage lending a hand on the vocal duties. Kurt sings in a cleaner style on this tune as well. There is a little more modern vibe to this tune. I like.

This is definately a musical progression from what has come before, but not unrecognizable to any previous fan of the band. Their trademark sound is intact but a 2009 version, not a rehash of what was given in the past. The lyrics are more obscure, but fit the musical passages they reflect. There are a couple of 'what the' moments after 'The Brave' that in the past would be called 'hidden' tracks. In the age of MP3's and ITunes there is no such thing.... oh well.

The production is fantastic with loud grinding guitars, smooth bass lines, and pounding drums. I gotta tell you that the more I listen to this album as a whole I enjoy it more and more. Gabriel is one of the most outstanding releases in 2009 so far.

9 AXES PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
Get it !

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