Mnemic burst on the scene last summer with the debut album, MECHANICAL SPIN PHENOMENA, which earned them endless comparisons to Fear Factory and Strapping Young Lad. Since those are two of my favorite bands, I’m not sure how that CD never made it to my ears bit I was fortunate enough to latch on to Mnemic’s latest, THE AUDIO INJECTED SOUL. Indeed, the comparisons to Fear Factory and Strapping Young Lad are perfectly warranted as the harsh/melodic vocal style of Burton C. Bell is present as is the technical, yet furious drumming style of Raymond Herrera. The presence of a lot of keyboards reflects the industrial sounds of Strapping Young Lad and there are some songs that almost reach the frenzied palette that Devin & Co. paint. Still, Mnemic is not simply a knock-off of these two bands. THE AUDIO INJECTED SOUL oozes with all the catchiness of fellow Danes, Raunchy, but is able to keep the intensity levels up creating a unique brand of metal they call “Fusion Future Metal.” The keyboards definitely add a space-like aura to some of the songs and some interesting riffing brings to mind math metal giants, Meshuggah. To mix things up even further, Mnemic close the CD with a Duran Duran cover!
THE AUDIO INJECTED SOUL was recorded by Tue Madsen (Heaven Shall Burn, The Haunted, Hatesphere) using a Three Dimensional Sound Formatting technology that really brings he music to life. The drums literally explode out of your speakers with such clarity that it couldn’t be any better if the band were playing live right in front of you! Try putting on some good headphones for an especially invigorating experience!
“Dreamstate Emergency” features some incredible drumming by Brian “Brylle” Rasmussen and the double bass just rumbles through your head. Michael Bogballe’s vocals waver between a harsh roaring scream through the verses to a soothing clean vocal during the choruses. These guys certainly know how to write hook-filled melodies and still keep things heavy enough not to drift out of the metal medium. Raunchy have also done this exceptionally well. The sound bounces around the room during this song and really is a unique experience. My favorite track on the CD is the cryptically titled, “Door 2.12.” The Strapping Young Lad influence is prevalent here as Bogballe’s vocals sound extremely close to those of Heavy Devy himself as he bellows “Behind door two point twelve!” The clean/harsh vocal switch-off works well here as the two balance each other out perfectly and make the harsh vocals harsher and the clean vocals cleaner. Tomas “Obeast” Koefoed is a bass monster on “Illuminate,” one of the heavier tracks on the CD. The synth intro of “Deathbox” creates a trippy atmosphere that leads to the searing riff and impenetrable wall of sound that complete the track. HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY!! Rune Stigart’s rhythms coupled with Mircea Gabriel Eftemie’s leads are absolutely stunning on this track. Like Bogballe’s vocals, they are the perfect balance of heavy and melodic. The spoken vocals of “Sane Vs. Normal” are only part of the oddness of this song. It is short and thrashy and whoever this “Mr. Ridgeway” person is sounds like one sinister piece of work! “Jack Vegas” lets the SYL-influence sink in deeper, while “Mindsaver” could have easily come off of Fear Factory’s DEMANUFACTURE CD. The track sure to draw the most attention and criticism is Mnemic’s take on the Duran Duran classic, “Wild Boys.” Most metalheads will never admit to liking Duran Duran but as a child of the 80s, they were inescapable and the Mad Max-styled video left an indelible impression on me. Mnemic have done a damn fine job of keeping the original feel there but obviously have stepped up the guitar parts and Bogballe’s vocals surpass those of Simon LeBon to make it their own.
More organic than Strapping Young Lad and less industrial than Fear Factory, Mnemic have unleashed a true masterpiece of modern metal with THE AUDIO INJECTED SOUL. Wearing one’s influences on one’s sleeve is a courageous thing to do given metalheads fickle attitudes, but Mnemic embrace them and build on them to deliver what they call “Fusion Future Metal.” To me, that is defined as a bit of thrash, a bit of prog and a whole lot of effects that were painstakingly mixed in the studio to draw the listener in to a headbanging trip unlike no other.
KILLER KUTS: “Dreamstate Emergency,” “Door 2.12,” “Illuminate,” “Deathbox,” “Mindsaver”
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