Review Summary: How wacky...
Coming from the same school of thought as Orbweaver and Brain Tentacles, Cyborg Octopus is, as you may expect, another band trying to mix the worlds of progressive death metal and surreal experimental rock. As an idea alone, it could work in the right hands, but, in most cases, the music created functions as an attempt to make the music as weird as possible for the sake of strangeness itself. More often than not, this sub-genre of progressive goof metal ends up feeling impressed by its own strangeness and devoid of any significant content that warrants the absurd musical elements. Learning to Breathe
rarely proceeds with purpose on its 36 minute long run, with any progressions leading to pointless and grating tangents, like on the exceptionally drab “Divine Right in D Minor” and the over-dramatic “Bitter.”
When not assaulting the ears with irritating shark-jumps, this album melds inoffensive deathcore riffs with ill-fitting influences taken from Cynic, Mr. Bungle, and Dillinger Escape Plan, in addition to wanky guitar solos and boring compositions. Almost every song flashes by while establishing very little, the exceptions being the bloated opener, “Data_m1nefield,” and closer, “Epiphany.” Both songs are long, overblown, and grandiose, with nothing musically supporting their boldness. Other tracks, like “Baptism of Clay” and “Shark Pit,” have gimmicks, sure, but ultimately do very little with their one note themes. What is at first surprisingly bad becomes extremely unremarkably garbage. Edgy screams, sugary guitar and bass tones, paper thin drums, and pointless backing instruments litter this record from beginning to end, taking inspiration from their peers and using said inspiration to create a hodgepodge mess of insufferable garbage. It’s abrupt genre shifts clash with each other in the attempt to make their songs more complex. After all, why not throw everything at the wall in the hopes that whatever mess you made resembles a complete project, ready for mixing and mastering.
I’d be lying if I said that this didn't have any interesting ideas buried behind the snore-inducing song structure and the piss-poor execution, but these few interesting concepts are sparse and do very little in saving this mess of a record. In the attempt to “experiment” on deathcore and goofcore death metal, Cyborg Octopus does nothing but take random ideas and try to fit them side by side with trite progressive metal clichés. The band becomes so wrapped up in its own quirkiness that they almost start to take themselves seriously, despite the fact that the album contains songs like the unbelievably stupid “Discobrain!’ Learning to Breathe
lacks purpose, originality, capable songwriting, and a general level of quality on all fronts and Cyborg Octopus has quite a few more things to learn other than breathing.