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Insense - "De:Evolution" (CD)

Insense - "De:Evolution" CD cover image

"De:Evolution" track listing:

1. Part 1 - Conception
2. Meandering
3. Lethargy
4. Radio
5. What Life?
6. I Tried To Be
7. Part II - Undoers Arise
8. Lack of Progress
9. Sick is the Will
10. Part III - An Endless Series
11. Moderation
12. Some Holy Thing
13. Procreational III
14. Part IV - Adoption

Reviewed by on September 2, 2014

"If this ultra-heavy, melodic prog-thrash record doesn't knock you on your ass, realize that you probably blacked out from the impact and therefore just don't remember your trip to the floor."

From the Norwegian Grammy-nominated outfit Insense comes a new chapter by the name of "De:Evolution." Make no mistake, the music on the album in no way shows a de-evolution of the band's writing abilities. Never known to keep to the straight and narrow, the band continues evolving it's melodic frameworks while each song unfolds, as Insense has been doing for four albums already.

Somewhere between a blend of rampaging beast and crashing waves, Insense straddles the line between chaos and order without falling onto either side. Songs like "Radio," "What Life?," and "Meandering" draw comparisons to Darkane, Engel, and Pantera with their juggernaut chugs and vocal aggression, relying on distorted vocal lines and guitars which continually come back to a melodic element after romping in raw fury. Fortunately, the band keeps a tight leash on the style, remaining unique in chord progressions and structures.

"I Tried To Be" showcases the balance that the band mates can strike at the best of their blends. Its restrained dignity is a great assistance to its lyrical seriousness, striking out in a sad but righteous anger after being lied to. "Conception," "Undoers Arise," "An Endless Series," and "Adoption" make for a varied suite of songs, ending with this same balance of elements. The mashup of harsh and clean vocals that Tommy Hjelm creates is a testament for the band's sense of dynamics, knowing when to call on different feels.

Drummer Truls Haugen (also of Circus Maximus) is an absolute shining star element of this release, equal parts Gene Hoglan and Tomas Haake. He peppers the slinky-heavy riffs of Hjelm, Ola Hanna, and Martin Rygge with distinct nuances and makes the overall sound of the production massive. Guitar gear geeks will find much to love in the tones dialed in on the record as well, equally gigantic while still retaining a fine sheen.

If this ultra-heavy, melodic prog-thrash record doesn't knock you on your ass, realize that you probably blacked out from the impact and therefore just don't remember your trip to the floor. This is a must-hear for fans of heavy (and audible!) bass guitar, thrash, prog, and traditional metalcore.

Highs: "I Tried To Be" and the 4-part suite

Lows: Some of the songs are shorter than you'd expect, although they don't feel that way.

Bottom line: A massive, melodic prog-thrash beatdown from Norwegian Grammy nominees.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)