Review Summary: Men’s lives are as meaningless as the lives of insects
It only takes one glance at the name of Australian metal quartet A Million Dead Birds Laughing to determine that their particular of melody-laced deathgrind is going to be a tad unsettling. The tortured screams of the introductory track of their third album Bloom
are a little cheesy, but they give way to a tirade of dynamic, atmosphere-soaked riffs that emulate the deepest, darkest depths of human emotion fantastically well. The drum performance here is good enough to rival modern metal titans like Ulcerate extremely easily, providing just the right level of speed before taking a step back for the glorious technicality of the guitars to shine through.
By the time the fifth track 'Maboroshi' hits, the band have already thrown many a curveball into their music. Most notable is the brief classical intersection of 'Defaced', a minor part of the song that improves it exponentially. The band takes hints from technical bands like Gorod in their execution of these moments, subtly enshrined within the thick layers of sound. But really, the main problem with this record is exactly this, these moments are too few and far between. The aforementioned 'Maboroshi' has potential to be a highlight, yet its spectral, haunting guitars are smothered by obtuse, obnoxiously compressed production. The typical brickwalling that occurs in the majority of modern metal records can be found here in full fruition, annoyingly plastic and frustratingly quiet drum sound included.
Of course, with a grindcore-like ethos towards song lengths, you're not likely to remember any of this anyway. On first listen, the shorter tracks of this record are entirely possible to forget entirely, and only behemoths like 'Bushidou' are likely to provide an easy entry point. What saves these songs from joining the generic scrap heap are the terrifying monster growls, confidently grasping the unpredictable nature of the reverb-drenched, occasionally sludgy guitars, always find a way to slide comfortably in to even the most dazzling song structures. Darren Leslie is capable of flurries of Travis Ryan-aping screams, intimidating bellows and moaning chants, and on epic closer 'Equilibrium' applies them all in equal measure.
As a metal record, Bloom
most be given its dues for experimentation, dabbling in crushing death metal as much as it does progressive guitar tweaks and unconventional instrumental use. However, the poor production, forgettable middle section and lack of defining songs make it yet another mediocre foray into extreme music that ultimately doesn't live up to expectation.