Believer
Transhuman


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
April 12th, 2011 | 75 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Believer has never been a band that revisits the past, and that has never been more apparent than now. Transhuman showcases the band with a whole new sound and a fresh vocal approach.

Believer has always been a band in constant motion. Every album in their discography has featured a notable progression and an ability to push in unexpected directions. Despite this penchant for experimentation, though, the band has always left the vocals alone. Admittedly, they have played around with different secondary vocals (notably opera), but the core ‘metal’ delivery has remained virtually unchanged since 1989. Considering the band’s constant evolution it always seemed odd that they would ignore the vocals, but it is no longer an issue. On Transhuman Believer has finally decided to play around with varying vocal styles and, despite a few growing pains, they have basically nailed it. Of course, they weren’t content with just expanding on the vocals; they’ve also taken what is probably their largest musical leap to date.

In the past, Believer generally built their songs on a thrash foundation that allowed them to experiment with rhythms, melodies and any additional elements, but that’s not quite the case anymore. On Transhuman the band has stripped away a lot of the thrash influence in favor of a rigid and rhythmic approach that is more melodic and technical. The most noticeable impact of this change is that the music has lost a lot of its primal thrash energy and has taken on a very cold, mechanical feel. A lot of this robotic feel is due to the band’s expanded use of disjointed rhythms and a layered approach to the way they create a lot of their melodies – a method that generally fuses semi-dissonant chords with bleak sci-fi electronics. It should be noted, however, that just because the band dropped the thrash influence doesn’t mean that they still aren’t delivering heavy songs. It’s just that songs such as “Entanglement” with its rhythmic main riff also have powerful choruses that often exude a feeling of desolation or loneliness. Although, they do close the album with “Mindsteps” – a mellow and uplifting track that seems to imply that there is still hope despite the bleak feel of the rest of the album.

The music’s cold, clinical approach can probably be directly attributed to the theme that runs throughout Transhuman. On Transhuman the band have decided to explore the overarching theme of what it means to be human; and not in some fruity philosophy style either. To develop the album’s subject matter the band looked for inspiration from Dr. Ginger Campbell’s Brain Science Podcast, which explores recent discoveries in neuroscience, as well as Dr. Thomas Metzinger’s scientific research and philosophical study of consciousness and the self. This is where Kurt Bachman’s new approach to singing really makes an impact. Neither the subject matter nor the music would have worked as well if Kurt had stuck to his old approach to singing. Throughout much of the album he uses a melodic shout that can best be compared to Devin Townsend’s solo work with kind of a Denis Belanger (Voivod) twist, and it’s these vocals that seem to have the most impact and impart the most feeling. Throughout the album they also utilize layered vocal harmonies, Kurt’s signature rasp and even a lower-pitched growl that definitely adds a whole new dimension to the band’s music.

When the band reformed after a sixteen-year hiatus people might have been skeptical, but Gabriel easily proved that the band were back and as good as ever. After that, the only question was would they continue to evolve as they always had or would they play things safe during their second era. In hindsight the answer should have probably been obvious, but just in case there was any doubt Transhuman should dissolve any lingering concerns. Not only is the band not playing it safe, they’re actually pushing their sound further than they ever have before. With Transhuman Believer have entirely stepped outside of their safe zone with a totally modern approach to their signature metal sound – a sound that finds Kurt Bachman singing, growling, and rasping like never before.



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user ratings (69)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
keyserfunk (4.5)
Believer births an outstanding modern metal album that expertly blends and simplifies their progress...

JM (3)
"Creativity doesn't always mean progression"...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
April 12th 2011


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream 3 songs here:

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/blog/?p=6401

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Wizard
April 12th 2011


19649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is good so far but I need to give it a few more listens. I liked Gabriel but this seems a bit more appealing to me. Great review too buddy.

Digging: Horseback and Locrian - New Dominions

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2011


10676 Comments


Cool. Been meaning to check out Gabriel. This sounds cool, too.

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry

Mordecai.
April 12th 2011


8282 Comments


fuck yeah believer

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2011


8394 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review man. I've got a big load of new stuff to check out but I'll try to get to this sooner rather than later.

Willie
Moderator
April 12th 2011


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is good so far but I need to give it a few more listens. I liked Gabriel but this seems a bit more appealing to me. Great review too buddy.

I was thinking that this one might appeal to you more just because of the vocals.

Cool. Been meaning to check out Gabriel. This sounds cool, too.

Try them both. They're both different.

I've got a big load of new stuff to check out but I'll try to get to this sooner rather than later.

That would be cool.

Tyrael
April 12th 2011


20979 Comments


Willie: winning!
Good job.

Emim
April 12th 2011


26675 Comments


Sweet, will definitely check this out.

I like the progression from Gabriel's album art to this one.

Phideaux
April 12th 2011


1656 Comments


This is definitely more up my alley than their other stuff. Good review.

Makemebad35
April 12th 2011


766 Comments


Gotta check this one out! I have one of their old albums.

jrowa001
April 12th 2011


8750 Comments


i didnt care much for Gabriel but i will listen to the songs that are streaming later tonight

Willie
Moderator
April 12th 2011


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool. At least you're giving them another shot since they've changed quite a bit since Gabriel.

fr33convict
April 12th 2011


11705 Comments


I've been meaning check this out but I didn't think it was out yet. Did they give you that advanced copy you've been begging for or am I just out of the loop? haha.

Willie
Moderator
April 12th 2011


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ha ha. Yeah, I got the promo a few days later so I've had this for a few weeks now. I'm glad I got it early because it has taken me the entire time to really let this sink in and get a review out. Also, the album is out today.

fr33convict
April 12th 2011


11705 Comments


Oh cool. I'm anticipating this is going to be as hard to find as as their last effort I might have to check the dreaded Christian bookstore where I found Gabriel.

Willie
Moderator
April 12th 2011


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know if it will be there unless the employees are totally out of the loop. There's nothing overtly christian that I have heard on this.

pizzamachine
April 12th 2011


12572 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album, I like this as much as I like Gabriel. Nice review too.

fr33convict
April 12th 2011


11705 Comments


They carry a bunch of the pseudo-Christian stuff that kind of hard to find in most places there. It's basically my last resort to find certain bands like Emery, Believer, etc.,.

Gnominator
April 13th 2011


41 Comments


Can anyone say Anberlin album cover RIP OFF.

Willie
Moderator
April 13th 2011


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hope you're not really that stupid and shortsighted. I'd like to blame it on the band that you referenced, but unfortunately Anberlin is really good so I'll just blame your mom.



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