Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast
Communic are a new band from Norway, rising from the ashes of the band Ingermanland. Guitarist/vocalist Oddleif Stensland (who is also in the band Scariot, whom I’ve never heard) and bassist Erik Mortensen formed Communic after putting previous band Ingermanland to sleep after two demo releases. The duo then went forward and enlisted drummer Tor Atle Andersen from Scariot to make Communic a full-fledged band. Now in 2005 Communic have released CONSPIRACY IN MIND through Nuclear Blast records.
Communic’s style is one that isn’t all that easy to nail down as it’s a mix of prog, trad, thrash and modern groove metal that doesn’t rely on one style over another but melds them all quite nicely. It’s not too dissimilar from a band like Nevermore, but one thing that has to be said right now is that unlike many would have you believe, Communic aren’t aping Nevermore’s sound. Communic are still able to carry their own identity while still sounding rather similar to a band that, prior to now, had no peers in their easily identifiable sound. The main difference I find between Communic and Nevermore are the overall vibe and atmosphere of either band’s music. While Nevermore, even at their most aggressive, sound hopeless and spiteful; Communic have a way of sounding more triumphant and hopeful, even more aggressive when they wish to.
While the guitar sound on the album sounds extremely similar to the last few Nevermore releases the overall riff contruction and choice is of a different beast, a bit more straight and not as “chugging” (if that makes any sense). Although it can’t be denied that various parts and sections do sound like Nevermore, hell the opening riff of the album sounds like something off of Nevermore’s ENEMIES OF REALITY and Oddleif’s vocals have a tendency to slide over to something that resembles Warrel Dane. This is definitely one of those albums where if you listen to it once or twice you’re going to say this sounds like a clone but if you give it a few more listens and let the songs weave their magic, you’ll quickly find that Communic are doing more than just following someone else down an already paved road.
Starting off with title track, “Conspiracy in Mind”, the song opens with a nice chugging riff that contains a somewhat interesting drum build up. Eventually we get into some “groove metal” stop/start riffage that might instantly turn off some before transitioning, not so smoothly I might add, into a melodic chorus that has an interesting melody, although Oddleif doesn’t sound too confident in his voice here, a little shaky. While I feel the title track will give many an instant impression of Nevermore, the second track, “History Reversed”, is instantly a beast of its own. Starting off slowly and with a very strong melody over a semi-melodic chugging riff the song morphs and changes between soft guitar melodies and heavy, rolling, melodic riffs. “They Feed on Our Fear” is a slow, lurching number; melodic and soft to begin before gaining some heavier riffs and at around the 4 minute mark we start to see some more speed (although I feel the transition is rather abrupt). I love the riff at 5:50, with its grouped notes. “Communication Sublime” has been my favourite since my first listen, that verse riff that begins at 54 seconds is just the beginning of a string of awesome riffs that continue for the rest of the song; moving from rolling thrashing riffs to stop/start riffs, not to mention that wonderful guitar melody that comes overtop of the break riff between the verse and the pre-chorus. The vocal for the chorus is also constructed wonderfully.
CONSPIRACY IN MIND is a solid debut album and like many debuts it has its flaws but the great moments outweigh the bad. There’s definitely room for the band to grow and I can see Communic growing into a band that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue by the time their second and third albums are released, just as long as they don’t screw it up like so many others have.