Review Summary: Believer births an outstanding modern metal album that expertly blends and simplifies their progressive, death, and thrash metal roots into a more accessible yet still super heavy sound that should please most avid metal fans.
Warning: Below you will read the words of a decades long fan of heavy metal, a metal layman if you will. I do not play nor study music and thus know not and therefore am unable to express the precise musical terminology and jargon put forth in most other reviews on this site. If Descartes was a fan of heavy metal, his philosophy would follow, "I listen, therefore I am."
I spent a day and a half playing this album repeatedly, to the tune of probably 15-20 spins. Not because I had nothing better to do nor had a dearth of other recently released albums to listen to, but because Believer's Transhuman is an extremely and surprisingly "listenable" album that flows well from start to finish. It is not an easy task for a band with the progressive death/thrash pedigree of Believer to effectively pull off this challenging and risky venture. Transhuman comes out of the sausage maker as a cleverly straight forward meshing of their past stylings into a more accessible, compact, modern metal sound, and they appear to do it so effortlessly.
Many Believer fans may mark this as the band's "sell out" moment. I view Transhuman as a clearly focused new direction that purposefully carves out an unpretentious, back-to-basics statement that great new metal does not require Cray computers and a physics degree to enjoy. They had me with the memorable lead track, "Lie Awake."
The quick and dirty: this is one of my favorite new metal albums of the year, and I also like it better than both Dimensions and Gabriel â€" Believer's previous two albums that were separated by years. I suspect that my intimate familiarity with their past work, which is pretty different from yet still influences this album, had an impact on my rating. Already knowing that the band is more than capable of going off in complex, technical metal tangents and thrashing it out with proficient lightning speed made their simpler approach on this album that much more credible for me. Believer gives off such an aura of confidence in their craft as they lay down some pretty thick riffs and urgent vocals from track to track -- it is hard to not just nod your head in understanding and amazement and give thanks. I just feel like I "get it," which is becoming rarer by the day with so many of the newer â€śmathcore-ishâ€ť metal albums out there. Even though Believer's most complicated wizardry isn't at work here, it is clear that each track was well thought out and developed with patience, and practiced thoroughly, before it was almost perfectly executed in the studio.
Believer's Transhuman showcases great song writing and production values that emphasize a heavy, grind-it-out, almost "classic metal" sound throughout. I love their bludgeoning main riffs and hooks with more-processed yet still haunting vocals, that are welded together by emotional choruses and solos that and fit each song perfectly. And the creative atmospherics in the background really complement the music's solid foundations well, not diverting focus away from the primary work at hand.