Monday, August 1, 2011


The fifth release by Believer has descended upon us with great anticipation. Transhuman is their second release on Metal Blade and perhaps the two greatest questions that come with this release is exactly what musical direction will this release take and in conjunction with that, what lyrical direction will be offered to the listener.

Believer’s first three discs were technical thrash with symphonic elements that were stunning and original. Lyrically an upfront Christian worldview was presented without question. After 1993's Dimensions the band called it a day and moved on to other endeavors. However in 2009 a newly reformed Believer released their fourth album entitled Gabriel. This album wasn’t as nearly thrash inspired as previous material but moved in more progressive areas of musical exploration. That’s not to say it was a lightweight disc, not by any stretch but definitely more exploration was incorporated.

Lyrically things were a bit more obscure as well, leaving many fans wondering what exactly did Believer believe. This thought came by reading various interviews as well where it seemed that the band was distancing itself from its original spiritual roots. A more philosophical tone appeared in answer to various questions. A refutation of the past?

Well all of that being said Transhuman is now before us and one intriguing release it is. The trademark Believer, Kurt Bachman guitar tone is there in earnest and Joey Daub never sounded better on the drum kit. Electronic elements abound as well with great effect and motion. Perhaps the description I’ve read throughout the blogosphere that is adept, "take Tool, Voivod, NIN and Destruction" throw it into a blender and it comes out Believerized.

Transhuman is a heavy record of epic proportions with amazing elements of melody combined with a solid 1-2 punch. Bachman’s vocal is a stunning display of strength of depth as he expanded to a much more melody driven performance. Songs such as Lie Awake and Mindsteps benefited tremendously from this expansion of style. These bits of musical drama offer something more than the traditional bang yer head. Chorus arrangements that stick with you and make want to SING along! Strange these days I realize, but a welcome surprise!

Technical exploration is still evident in compositions such as G.U.T. and Clean Room. However these jaunts beyond the norm aren’t overly self indulgent and mind numbing. In fact the more direct approach pays off dividends. Overall a powerful album musically that joins the ranks of Cynic and Pestilence quite nicely.

Transhuman is a grower as far as listening time. One time through and several songs, Multiverse and Ego Machine for example just grab you with their combination of punch and drive. Entanglement is just that, its tendrils reach out and slither their way into your psyche, holding you down until the knock out blow is delivered. A rather large tapestry is woven here, and it’s most effective.

Lyrically this album deals with the issues of medical ethics in a world of advanced technology and how one affects the other. Undoubtedly great pains were taken in assembling the lyrical monographs used in this release. However one is left wondering what the reference point is? Is this simply a reflection of questions without conclusions?

After all if you bring this to the table there should be some sort of basis for the emotional reasoning brought by the lyrics. At times I’m just wondering without pigeonholing anyone, what does Believer believe in regards to the issues discussed?

Transhuman is undoubtedly one of the finest releases of 2011. Some may be hard pressed to hear the Believer of old in these compositions, you won’t find much. However what you will find is world class progressive extreme metal with the lyrical depth of Hemmingway. Don’t hesitate in obtaining this release, you won’t regret it.

8 axes

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