Metal Blade Records
Transhuman is the fifth full-length release for Believer and in keeping with their desire to get more experimental (read: weirder) with each passing recording it is a concept album about the subject of transhumanism (hence the title obviously!). As with their 2009 release Gabrial (an album I did enjoy) Transhuman finds Believer moving further away from technical thrash and into avant garde metal. In fact my first few listens to Transhuman left me wondering if vocalist/guitarist Kurt Bachman and drummer Joey Daub (founders and the only consistent members) were even interested in playing technical thrash anymore? The sound is odd overall. Without a shadow of a doubt there is a mechanical element to the music. It took me a few spins to digest this as it's sort of offsetting. Also, the vocals have changed. And not for the better I'm afraid. Kurt Bachman sounds rough. I had to go back and listen to Gabriel again to make sure I wasn't hearing things and I wasn't. While he sings and screams and does his best raspy "I'm still metal guys" voice I just sort of was left thinking "why does it sound like they spent so much time with making this music that had layers and layers and then they just throw the first vocal take on it?" throughout the affair. Am I the only one who thinks the vocal work is an epic fail? Back to the music though. It's a step up and outward for sure. Even if it is an odd sort of album there are some cool effects scattered throughout. Thing is there is also quite a bit of what I like to call "Nu-Modern Metal" that I hear. And that was a turn off. I'd like to think that maybe I haven't let this album sink in enough and that it needs time. Maybe that's the case and I'll come to appreciate it much later on. You'd think several listens though would have been enough for it to sink in though and it didn't. I'll be curious to see what others have to say about this because for me there are conflicting feelings. I can't recommend this release for technical thrash fans however if you are a Believer fan you already know that Gabriel was just the starting point and that Transhuman is even more "unique". And for the record I was going to start off this review writing all about the transhumanism movement and how it influenced Believer but damn it all Kirk this is a metal blog and not a forum for post-humanism discussions!