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Bermuda - "The Wandering" (CD)

Bermuda - "The Wandering" CD cover image

"The Wandering" track listing:

1. Intuitions
2. Process of Drowning
3. Invictus, Unconquered
4. In Trenches
5. Lost at Sea
6. Sachael
7. Gamorrah Reborn
8. Lagrange Pointe
9. The Wandering
10. Polaris Breach
11. Obstruction

Reviewed by on September 3, 2012

"The band never set out to reinvent the wheel; just to make it more aesthetically intimidating, which they have."

The better bands within the hit-or-miss deathcore genre frequently turn out to be the postmodern ones. Already knowledgeable on the clichés and tactics of the genre, Bermuda chooses to take a higher road with their second album, “The Wandering.” Calling upon the powers of the chug and subscribing to the Meshuggah methodology of “a heavily reverberated electric guitar makes for a great backing pad,” Bermuda aims at a clean integration of unpredictable rhythms and creepy backings. The lyrics are also something of note.

Behind a heavily-processed growl voice lies lyrics that speak more in a storytelling perspective. Repetition is also not a constant unless called for. As such, there aren’t many “choruses” per se. The processing on the vocals allowed for them to be manipulated and transformed into multi-layered scream pads that expand and are used for aesthetic edge. Meanwhile, the lyrics paint stories of a struggle against a foe and a quest for redemption from personal sins committed. “Sachael” is the only song on which there is clean singing. The band knows that they do growling better, and the growls are truly beastly, with similarities to Adam Warren from Oceano and Jens Kidman from Meshuggah.

There is definitely a pattern to the churning of the guitars and syncopated drumming, although you’d be hard-pressed to find it on the first listen. Songs like “Obstruction” emphasize the off-beats and subdivisions of the off-beats at times. “Invictus, Unconquered” and “In Trenches” both boast a blend of unpredictable and groove-oriented syncopation free of most purposeless “for the hell of it” tricks. In talking about tricks, the drumming must be mentioned. Though quantized, each hit is made to fit precisely where it needs to be. The drumming employs a large amount of technical fills.

High production values make the end product shine bright with a mix that’s punchy, full-bodied, and balanced without over-compression. “Lagrange Pointe” reveals a trace Cynic influence between the clean guitars and drum fills. Without a chopped-up and thoroughly worked-over product, songs like “Obstruction” would just be muddy water due to all of the start-stop rhythms. The most important part of the band’s overall sound is the gritty aesthetic, present and blowing wild like a sandstorm on an open wound in the desert.

All in all, the follow-up album to “Isolationists” is a sure-fire good example of the good side of deathcore. Though not altogether unique, “The Wandering” is a fine offering. The band never set out to reinvent the wheel; just to make it more aesthetically intimidating, which they have.

Highs: High production values, gritty aesthetic, and a postmodern take on deathcore.

Lows: The songs could use more disambiguation between each other.

Bottom line: New-school deathcore with a penchant for aesthetically menacing sounds.

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)