Review Summary: Lazy and uninspiring, this is Wal-Mart's interpretation of progressive metal.
I was sceptical of Dichotomy
from the get-go. I liked Terminate Damnation
enough. I liked Physics of Fire even more. But it only took a minute or two for me to realize the like-affair was about to end. “Mountain of Souls” characterizes the album almost immediately. Producer-slash-bald everyman Devin Townsend's fingerprints are ever present from the song's opening instances. Incorporating Hevy-Devy's trademark dollar-ninety-nine keyboard work alongside second-rate chugging and leads that sounded phoned in the first forty times In Flames used them, “Mountain of Souls” is wholly indicative of a complete and utter lack of effort on the band's part. Like the album it opens, “Mountain of Souls” unravels at a tedious pace and just when you think the album's hit its early low-point, you're hit with a contrived piano coda that falls somewhere between useless and irritating.
“Dichotomy” keeps the album on a course toward mediocrity. Introducing a structural trait that will eventually be kicked to the ground, “Dichotomy” follows a path that begins with a silly keyboard riff that is then repeated with some added chug on the guitars. And once again, the song breaks with a hair-in-the-wind guitar solo laden piano passage that walks a fine line between ironic and arrogant. The 30+ minutes that follow are much the same. You get flimsy, repetitive songwriting peppered by pretentious piano work, schlocky keyboards and musicianship that's technically sound but mostly uninvolved. Dichotomy
is a lazy effort. Much of the songs rely on time-killing, a technique that's exemplified by the band's insistence to build each song slowly, rev themselves into an unintelligible growl that transforms itself into fourth rate melodic death metal before breaking into some pseudo-intellectual piano-driven garbage. The band's blatant lack of energy can be most vehemently summarized in my assertion that this is Wal-Mart friendly death metal. Christian morality isn't the problem: music that rarely threatens to do anything new, unique or even interesting is.
Of course the idea of an “extreme” metal act interpreting “How Great Thou Art” is probably intended to be shocking and out-of-left-field. Instead, it realistically puts them in the same creative realm as Carrie Underwood. Regardless, “How Great Thou Art” is in contention for the most inventive song on the album. The hundred-plus year old hymn, as hokey as it may be, is perhaps the only earnest thing on the disc. Granted, hearing the band shout “come on!” before effectively “breaking it down” is cringe worthy but it's the rare instance where the band actually seems to be enjoying themselves.
In a nutshell, Becoming the Archetype got lazy. In a nutshell, Becoming the Archetype got comfortable. It's not that Dichotomy
is awful, but it's not far off. Dichotomy
is an allegedly progressive metal album by a band taking a gigantic leap backwards. Most importantly, Dichotomy
is an excruciatingly disappointing waste of time. By all means give the album a chance, it's not without its occasional merit. But do not be surprised by a band going through the motions and don't say I didn't warn you.
These guys believe in the resurrection of Christ. Their religion believes this to be a miracle. Here's hoping the same thing happens to their career. After this dud, they're going to need it.