Sophicide - Perdition of the Sublime (Willowtip Records)
By: Mike Sloan
[7/10] Programmed drums are never something this scribe enjoys listening to and the reasons are endless. Without going into grave detail due to word count limitations, they just aren’t appealing because they sound… fake. However, on the debut full-length album from Germany’s Sophicide, these programmed drums actually sound believable. Similar to Fear Factory’s enormously underwhelming The Industrialist, Perdition of the Sublime features a programmed drum machine that sounds about as authentic as possible. Someone without a keen ear might actually be convinced that there is a real human being behind the kit, just that the final mix is way too clean.
Anyway, Sophicide is another in a constantly growing long line of youngsters who are almost too musically inclined for their own good. Meaning, there is a plethora of skill and technique within every song and the technical ability of guitarist Sebastian Bracht is immediately on full display. The kid can twist and manipulate his strings like the very best of ‘em, but as is the norm with über techy bands of this ilk, oftentimes the songs lose a ton of focus because of the seeming necessity to be technical just for the sake of being technical. It’s killed such bands as Decrepit Birth, Abysmal Dawn, etc. and the extremely pristine production saps the album of its muscle.
Still, there is plenty to appreciate on the album because when Bracht doesn’t go off the deep end with his surgical precision, he has the ability to maintain a nifty little groove when it’s called upon. He also loves to noodle all over his fretwork during his solos, which are dizzying at times. There’s no question this dude can play the shit out of his guitar. However, the Achilles heel with death/deathcore bands of this nature is that the majority of the album is filled with a cornucopia of guitar wizardry but is virtually devoid of actual song writing.
Founder Adam Laszlo has a solid vocal approach and there’s no denying the duo has a keen understanding of how to create technical death metal together. This is their debut full-length and the two, especially Bracht, will inevitably get better and better as the years pass. Sophicide clearly has what it takes to hit the listener with some wicked hooks, but too often those finer moments are cast aside for overly technical sidesteps. The final mix and its spotlessness also takes away much of the raw, absolute intensity, which detracts from the final grade.
In the end, Perdition of the Sublime is a solid starting point for a band still wet behind the ears. The title track is the gem of the bunch and there is plenty to enjoy about the album. We’d still like to see a living, breathing human behind the kit to add some organic depth to the music, but Sophicide is off to a good start with this. Hopefully the next bunch of songs the two create will have more staying power and less need to be overly technical for the sake of being technical.
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