Burning the Masses

Mind Control

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Whether death metal is or isn't one's cup of tea, there is no question that in general, death metal musicians are not lacking in the chops department. A common complaint one hears from producers and engineers is that a lot of emo and screamo musicians can't play their instruments, but in death metal, chops are usually held in high regard -- especially when the death metal is of the technical variety. Burning the Masses take a highly technical approach to death metal on their first full-length album, Mind Control, and no one can accuse the San Diego-based outfit of lacking chops. Death metal that is this technical is not easy to play; musicians who can't play their instruments wouldn't be able to handle all the abrupt, jarring tempo changes that one encounters on this 2008 release, which never goes out of its way to be accessible to listeners who don't have a taste for ultra-technical death metal. Between the frequent tempo changes, the highly angular nature of Burning the Masses' songs and the band's hammer-to-the-skull brutality, Mind Control definitely preaches to the choir. And for the seasoned fan of technical death metal, this 36-minute CD has its strengths and weaknesses. The fact that Burning the Masses' members know their way around their instruments is a definite plus, but unfortunately, the material itself isn't very memorable; there is nothing that separates Burning the Masses from a long list of similar bands that have provided competent but unremarkable albums. Mind Control isn't a bad album, but in a field as crowded as extreme metal, Burning the Masses need to come up with material that will do more to make them stand out.

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