Monday, July 11, 2011

Biomortal - Breathe (EP) (2011)

Biomortal, a synth driven industrial metal band, hails from London. Started as a one man side project by Paul Theobold, the band have filled out a line-up and come back with a new EP to show off what they have created. A collection of four new songs, and a cover that must be heard to be believed, this four piece are making a play for a label with "Breathe."

Bending guitar strings and strong, calculated cymbal crashes move straight into double kicks as "Drowned Out" begins. Screams are gritty and well focused, but they quickly dissolve into whispers and off-key warbling. Background keyboards prop up the simply guitar melody, before the song crashes back into technical industrial death style. The use of the double kick is liberal, often going full passages without a reprieve. It only seems to blend together by track's end.

The band show off their softer side on the delicate "Abyss," with that effects-induced singing searching for harmony over a whining guitar and bass line. It feels like an intro, drawn out for a full three minute track. You may wait for the other shoe to drop, but unfortunately, it never does. The most successful track on the album, "Fate's Calling" shows a little versatility, with the drum beats changing pace and power throughout the song. The vocals come back, harsh and edgy, but actually find a balance with clean singing in the chorus section. The keyboards are ghostly, but too often get lost in the pulsing drum track.

On the flip side, "Ticking Timebomb" is an interesting combination of styles The vocals in the verse sections could easily be mistaken for early 40 Below Summer. The bridge/breakdown section is strong, allowing the synths to shine through it all. Even the drums take a different route, switching from the death style kick rolls, to a black metal kick/snare/cymbal assault. The grand finale of this EP is a misguided cover of Berlin classic "Take My Breath Away" (Complete with cat singing music video here). Done in the tradition made popular so many years ago, the band reinvent the song. Gone are the cheesy synth melodies, replaced with distorted guitar chords and keyboards. The vocals range from the coarse screams to the attempt and soulful, delicate crooning. The track is a novelty, and seems to be a questionable choice to include when you are seeking to cement your place in the metal community.

While this EP is certainly a jumping off point, it isn't quite a deal maker. The talent is there. The vision is there. But something has been lost in translation. The production isn't perfect, but solid in most areas. The problem, however, lies in the mix. The synths, the band signature, get lost amidst crashing drums and guitar riffs. And without that strong presence, the tracks seem hollow.


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