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Greetings! My name is Matthew, and I love to listen to all types of metal. I'm a high school English teacher and aspiring writer. I also write reviews for the Metal Utopia webzine!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I Built the Cross - "Banish the Disconnect" Review

I Built the Cross - Banish the Disconnect EP
Self Produced; mixed and mastered by Zak Ohren
Genre:  Technical death metal

Band's Facebook
Link to Lyrics
Author (song) on YouTube

Garrett McGeein (vocals)
Reed Mitchell (guitar)
Zak Campbell (bass)
Nathan Gillotti (drums)

1. Author (2:23)
2. Banish the Disconnect (4:32)
3. Human Predicament Part 1: Godless Cosmos (3:55)
4. Human Predicament Part 2: Foundations (5:27)
5. Imposter Christ (5:31)

In a sub-genre of music that has become stale and full of countless bands parading themselves around as inarticulate doubles, I Built the Cross stands apart.  Their recipe for success includes a balanced mix of technical death metal and hardcore elements.  Where some bands demonstrate their musical infancy in an endless slew of breakdowns, I Built the Cross infuses just the right amount of technical guitar leads and spastic drumming into their brand of caustic music. 
            Banish the Disconnect is the band’s second production, following the full-length album Bridging the Gap Between Mind and Heart.  The first noticeable thing that is different from their debut is that the EP is much clearer production-wise.  Individual elements can be more easily distinguished.  Hats off to Nathan Gillotti for his mixing job, because it seems to be quite professional.  I’m also a sucker for audible bass lines, so when a few of those popped out of the clash of drums and guitar every once in a while, I couldn’t stop a feral grin from spreading across my face. 
            So what about the music itself?  Of course, it isn’t a full-length.  As a result the listener comes away like a slavering lion that has been denied the second half of his kill—you’re still hungry!  Perhaps I Built the Cross is just trying to whet our taste buds so that we will come out to buy their next release in droves…  But seriously, it is very difficult to create any sense of coherency or long-lasting imagery with only 5 songs.  The band makes a credible effort, however, and a bit of a trend begins to emerge with the dual tracks Human Predicament 1: Godless Cosmos and Human Predicament 2: FoundationsBanish the Disconnect rips out of the starting line with the track Author, a straight-ahead thriller with screaming banshee guitars and calculated drumming.  Vocalist Garrett McGeein shrieks his throat hoarse while bellowing and screaming.  The title track is the semblance of a battalion of angelic soldiers marching forward to sever the heads of the demons in a display of gory humiliation:  the song builds to a crescendo and then launches into a spray of screeching guitar abuse, a bass drop, and breakdowns.  Lord have mercy!  The EP closes on a solid note with the song Imposter Christ, which boasts intriguing lyrics.

            Which leads me to one more thing that I want to say about I Built the Cross:  they make you think.  Their lyrics have roots in Christian theology, rudiments of philosophy, and a poetic outlook on the universe that is quite gratifying.  In addition, they aren’t afraid to step on any toes or to think outside the box.  While lines like “The brute nausea of existence, the becoming feature of an oracular ocean of angry static, devotes itself to this forgotten planet” may have you initially scratching your head, at other times they are blatantly clear with their message.  For example, Imposter Christ is a clear indictment of those who would wish to twist the Gospel or promise the Kingdom of Heaven through good works alone.
            The final verdict?  Excellent!  One thing that I would critique is that there could be more melodic moments in the songs; the juxtaposition of piano and forte elements generally increases the effect of crescendos and decrescendos.  If you’re a fan of death metal or deathcore, you would be wise to give this album a chance.  Banish the Disconnect is the result of a band of mature musicians who are not afraid to exhibit both their musical and literary talents.

Overall rating: 8.0 out of 10.0 (Excellent)

Musicianship:  8.5 out of 10.0 
Song structure:  8.0 out of 10.0
Album structure:  7.5 out of 10.0


How did I come up with my rating?  I rate the following categories:  musicianship, song structure, and album structure.  I then take an average of these three scores and come up with an overall rating.

1.0-2.9 (Poor:  musicianship is poor, song structures are haphazard, no directional flow)
3.0-4.9 (Good:  musicianship is sloppy, song structures are undeveloped, flow is hampered)
5.0-6.9 (Average:  musicianship is adequate, song structures are good, flow works most of the time)
7.0-8.9 (Excellent:  musicianship is very good, song structures are thought out, songs connect well)
9.0-9.9 (Superior:  musicianship is superb, song structures are varied, flow is almost flawless)

Note:  Ratings may be given in increments of 0.1 for a final score (rounded up) and 0.5 for individual category scores.  I will never give a rating of 10.0 because I do not believe that any one album can be "perfect," and the ratings at either end of the spectrum will be very few.

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1 comment:

  1. Nice review , " the becoming feature of an oracular ocean of angry static, devotes itself to this forgotten planet" , it sounds interesting .... plus you really described the sub-genre perfectly "countless bands parading themselves around as inarticulate doubles" haha.. POS.