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Abnormality - "Mechanisms of Omniscience" (CD)

Abnormality - "Mechanisms of Omniscience" CD cover image

"Mechanisms of Omniscience" track listing:

1. Swarm (3:17)
2. Synthetic Pathogenesis (3:38)
3. Mechanisms of Omniscience (3:33)
4. Catalyst of Metamorphosis (2:01)
5. Vigilant Ignorance (6:00)
6. Irreversible (3:34)
7. Hopeless Masses 03:47)
8. Assimilation (2:53)
9. Cymatic Hallucinations (4:27)
10. Consuming Infinity (5:44)

Reviewed by on May 18, 2016

"All the parts are in place for a big breakout album, but 'Mechanisms of Omniscience' isn't it."

The main problem that I have with most bands that fall into the brutal death metal genre is that many of them don't male any effort to distinguish themselves from thousands of other groups doing the same exact thing. For every band I hear praised by the internet, I wind up forgetting their songs within ten minutes of hearing them. I mostly took on the task of reviewing Abnormality because they're on Metal Blade and had a song in one of the Rock Band games, so somebody had to review it. And it's one of the most maddening albums to review that I've ever encountered because Abnormality is a very, very good band that keeps struggling with forgettability.

Abnormailty does get better with each release and “Mechanisms of Omniscience” is the band's most polished album yet. The main problem is that they're at the edge of doing something great but never seem to actually cross that line. It's exasperating because all the potential is there but Abnormality fails to realize it.

The lyrics are far better than most brutal death stuff and I'm glad that there's an effort to move beyond gore lyrics. Mallika Sundaramurthy also takes the time to enunciate which is another plus in my book. Too much brutal death metal seems to focus almost exclusively on drums to the expense of everything else, and it's good that she's a vocalist who knows what she's doing and does it well.

“Catalyst of Metamorphosis” and “Assimilation” are useless filler though. There would still be a full eight tracks without them and they add nothing to the album. I've never been a fan of instrumental tracks on a band with a vocalist and this is no exception.

“Synthetic Pathogenesis” and “Irreversible” on the other hand are clearly the best tracks on the album and are great examples of what Abnormality can be when they apply themselves. The problem is that Abnormality needs to mix it up a bit more and define their sound. Most of the time they wind up just copying what Suffocation have been doing for the past twenty-five years. For a band with as much potential, they really need to do some more hooks and polish their songwriting a bit more.

The main problem that I have with “Mechanisms of Omniscience” is that it isn't as memorable as it should be. Much of the guitar work is there. The vocal patterns are there. The lyrics are there. Abnormality have all the parts in place but the songwriting just doesn't totally click yet. I like this album but I desperately want to like it more. For a band signed to as big a label as Metal Blade, there needs to be just a bit more polish since they are 99% of the way to creating something really awesome.

While not the most original album, “Mechanisms of Omniscience” makes many efforts to not be outright cliché. It's consistently good but they're playing a tired sound that other artists have done before even if Abnormality do it well. All the parts are in place for a big breakout album, but “Mechanisms of Omniscience” isn't it. Listen if you like death metal but don't expect this one to completely redefine the way that you perceive the genre. It ultimately has done little for me other than raising my expectations for the next release, which hopefully will be a game changer.

Highs: Solid lyrics. Understandable vocals. High level of technical proficiency. Makes an effort to be catchy.

Lows: Isn't actually catchy.

Bottom line: While the next album is certain to be special, Abnormality hasn't hit its stride yet.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)