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Acrania - "Totalitarian Dystopia" (CD)

Acrania - "Totalitarian Dystopia" CD cover image

"Totalitarian Dystopia" track listing:

1. Hollow
2. Festering With Dishonesty
3. Totalitarian Dystopia
4. Servants Of Hypocrisy
5. Survival Sequence
6. A Gluttonous Abomination
7. Susceptible To Retinal Reprogrammability
8. Lobotomise, Dehumanise, Negate. [LDN]
9. Messiah Of Manipulation
10. Disillusion In A Discordant System

Reviewed by on August 14, 2014

"The constant ebb and flow of the rhythms keep this album from being another boring breakdown record, and the rhythms are catchy, but far too slippery. My body and mind can't appreciate the grooves for more than a few seconds at a time."

"Totalitarian Dystopia" is the first full-length release from London's Acrania. Released via Unique Leader Records, the album reveals ten tracks of politically-charged brutal deathcore. Since the album wears this tag, expect to hear plenty of breakdowns, but the album isn't confined to this single technique. Breakdowns are just one of the whirlwind of tempos that define each track.

I usually don't give a second listen to most deathcore bands because I think they rely too much on said breakdowns. In the case of Acrania, they could benefit from more of them. No boring riffs here, they're quite good at this technique, especially when the guitars and bass come together. Bass is so under utilized today, so I applaud the band when the bass really stands out on tracks such as "Messiah of Manipulation" and "Hollow." One of the down shifting tempo parts on "Hollow" actually was the reason I decided to review this album. Bleak harmonies and harmonic squeals (listen to "Servants of Hypocrisy") are other elements that help enliven the release. The drums, especially double bass, are quite technical and keep the rhythm in constant motion.

The constant ebb and flow of the rhythms keep this album from being another boring breakdown record, and the rhythms are catchy, but far too slippery. My body and mind can't appreciate the grooves for more than a few seconds at a time. While I appreciate the vocal phrasing, from long projections to swift barks, they rely too much on vocals. I understand why this is after reading the lyrics to "Susceptible to Retinal Reprogrammability" and " Festering with Dishonesty." Each song is fairly short, but the lyrics are long and dictate the music. Songs about being programmed to the ideas released on TV ("Susceptible to Retinal Reprogrammability") and being fed propaganda on the news ("Festering with Dishonesty") are interesting topics. I'm hip to what Acrania has to say, but I think they need to say it in fewer words.

If your world view falls in with ideas associated with the Truther movement, you'll probably get a lot out of "Totalitarian Dystopia." Finding the lyrics to the whole album will not only please you in this regard, it will make each song easier to follow. While I'm impressed by the band's technical prowess, I just wish there were fewer riffs so I could remember more of them.

Highs: Acrania doesn't rely too much on breakdowns like so many deathcore artists.

Lows: It's hard to get a handle on the riffs since the band constantly changes rhythms.

Bottom line: Summer Slaughter Tour fans should dig this technical deathcore album.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 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)