Sound — 9
The self proclaimed Twin Cities Breakdown Architects are at it again with the release of Rareform. But don't let the tagline fool you, these guys write melodies and solos like you read about. This album has some true gems that will blow you away. "Cursing Akhenaten" is the song which I truly believe should have been the intro to the album, but I can let that go. This song starts off with an haunting egyptian melody, then bursts into a doom and gloom breakdown, which is perfect for that kid you see jumping up and down before a mosh pit begins. This song has more breakdowns than you can shake a stick at. My next favorite is "Aspiration." It starts with an intro reminiscent of "Fingers Like Daggers" from "Forging a Future Self." But don't expect this to be "Fingers Like Daggers Part II." The main riff is lighter than most of their others, but it doesn't lost it's heavy aspect. The breakdown at 2:30 is one that is sure to break your neck. The only problem I have with this song is the solo, it's good until the ending where it leaves you wanting more that just the ring outs. "Berzerker" has melodies galore and a real head bobber of a breakdown. At first "The Fractal Effect" seemed way out of left feild, but you have to hold on for this one because it is a real rollercoaster of a song, especially the riff at 2:50. it's sort of a random/stupid/mind-boggling riff, but it's still amazing. I first heard this when I was driving through Downtown Chicago and it gave me a real WTF moment. "Ometh" is my favorite song solo-wise. And last but certainly not least is "A Vicious Reforming of Features." I know people are going to hate me for saying this, but if you like Meshuggah, then this is could be the song that get you into After the Burial, and the ending solo is reminiscent of a young Jason Becker (hate me for that one too). The only thing I really have a problem with sound wise is the low end on the guitars and the drums. The drums should have been recorded, instead of just a drum machine or triggers like it sounds. Everything about the drums just seems dull and faded into the background. The Snare is far too dull. I'm saying all of this and I'm a guitarist.
Lyrics — 7
I must admit, at first I found the singer's voice boring. But he really does have range. I simply think he could have used it better. Maybe it was the producer that held him back or maybe he just wasn't opening up on this record. But still, the vocals went very well with the each song, esp "Cursing Akhenaten."
Overall Impression — 9
I truly love this album. It lets you know that technicality can mix with emotion in music (See Aspiration). The only thing I have against this album is the tone. I have a feeling that this is because of the record label (Sumerian Records). Don't get me wrong. It's a great label with great artists. But it seems like the used the same producer and engineer on this record as they did with The New Reign by Born of Osiris. Great artists that would sound incredible with a change in tone. Great guitar record.