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Abiotic - Symbiosis (Metal Blade Records)

By: David E. Gehlke

[7/10] You have to wonder if things happen too fast for certain bands sometimes. As in, they get signed before they're ready, not quite equipped to deal with inevitable setbacks and/or roadblocks, primarily because they haven't had any. This is not to say South Florida's Abiotic haven't hit the occasional wall, but a mere two years and one demo after their formation, they've been picked up by Metal Blade for the release of their Symbiosis debut. Come to think of if, you'd put pen to paper just as quickly as Abiotic did if you were in their shoes...

Consisting of slightly re-worked versions (seven in all) of their Universal Plague demo, along with three new cuts, Symbiosis jostles between tech metal and modern deathcore, a facet that is feast or famine with these guys. One would like such movements to be cast aside altogether, primarily because there is virtually no such thing as a fresh and unique beatdown at this stage in the game, yet Abiotic does their best to mask these pit-gunners with fluent riffs and a stranglehold on brutal death metal that is somewhere between vintage Suffocation and any number of the Unique Leader cavalcade.

It's not a surprise that Symbiosis is bereft of melody - which is fine, for the pummeling exploits of "The Graze of Locusts" serve a warning that these lads could set it off if they wanted to. It's also not a surprise that the album's full-throttle approach tends to lead the listener down partially unfulfilled paths, as one too many dive-bombs, harmonic squeals, death vocal belches, and Godzilla-like extreme blasts tend to lose their flavor toward the tail-end of things. Save for some jazz swigging in "A Universal Plague" and an all-too-short melodic burst in "Facades," Symbosis comes precariously close to bloating itself with too much brutality.

The above notions might in fact tie back into how young these guys are, and how inexperienced they might be. That all could be true, yet there's a perfectly good reason Slagel and company signed Abiotic, probably as means to take the reins of modern death metal when people get tired of Whitechapel and are ready for something new. Whether that is Abiotic remains to be seen....

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