Released: 2008, Earache Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Biomechanical took a lot of us by surprise in 2005 with the release of THE EMPIRES OF THE WORLD. Coming from seemingly out of nowhere, the U.K. band yielded a unique mix of power metal accessibility, thrash groove and industrial chaos. Led by vocalist/mastermind John K, Biomechanical really opened up a genre that they made all their own and received almost universal praise as a result. Unfortunately, the other four members of Biomechanical were sacked just as momentum was starting to build. Not one to let a minor obstacle like no players get in the way of his vision, John K enlisted a new group of musicians (including ex-DragonForce four-stringer, Adrian Lambert) to bring to life the third—and final—chapter in the trilogy first realized with 2003’s EIGHT MOONS. On CANNIBALISED, producer Chris Tsangarides (he of Judas Priest’s PAINKILLER) straps himself in for what must have been one hell of a wild ride, trying to compose the multi-layered sonic mayhem that John K presented. Despite having a fresh stable of guys on hand, little has changed in terms of the ferocity of the music since THE EMPIRES OF THE WORLD. The same parallels can be drawn to Strapping Young Lad with John K’s formidable vocal range and frenzied musical palette working together to literally crush the listener under a wall of manic fury.
CANNIBALISED can be a lot to take in, what with the endless vocal layering and sonic depth of the music. Devin Townsend’s work is clearly an inspiration to Biomechanical and songs like “Reborn In Damnation,” “Predatory” and the title track seethe with the same unbridled chaos that Townsend has become famous for. The surging ambient samples of “Consumed” lend a cinematic score element to the music and John K’s spoken word delivery is eerily chilling. “Through Hatred Arise” is a real exercise in tempos, styles and emotions. John K’s vocals are almost operatic, nearing the power of Rob Halford at points, and the sampled choirs and strings start to move into symphonic metal territory. Arguably the most accessible track on the album, “Fallen In Fear” contains latent symphonic washes that bubble under cold industrial thrash riffs but despite the frenzied pacing of the song, a discernible melody exists within the chorus. At the opposite end of the scale, album closer “Violent Descent” is an off-tempo clatter of pedal-to-the-metal rage that ends with a noisy, off-putting shriek before ending abruptly, leaving the listener in a cliffhanger-like position for the next chapter in Biomechanical’s psychotic soiree.
John K is obviously a strong-willed individual whose idea of what Biomechanical is remains his own without exception but anyone willing to come aboard this sensory thrill-ride is in for a real treat. Like THE EMPIRES OF THE WORLD, CANNIBALISED is not an easy listen. The music is lacking the typical verse/chorus/verse/bridge/chorus pattern and is outrageously “busy” in its presentation. Much like Meshuggah, The Berzerker or Strapping Young Lad, the unrelenting jackhammer pounding of the music is not going to be for everyone but the complexity and ambition of CANNIBALISED cannot be ignored. Biomechanical is like no other and in a world of cookie-cutter, image-conscious bands, CANNIBALISED is a unique and fresh twist on modern heavy metal.
KILLER KUTS: “Fallen In Fear,” “Cannibalised,” “Predatory,” “Reborn In Damnation,” “Violent Descent”