Engage the Mechanicality

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Chops aren't just for classical, jazz, and progressive rock musicians; there are also plenty of chops to be found in metal, and that includes metal's lunatic fringe. Although most death metal isn't very musical (apart from the decidedly melodic and nuanced bands such as In Flames, Age of Ruin, Callenish Circle, Amorphis, Children of Bodom, and At the Gates) and thrives on bombast for the sake of bombast, that doesn't mean the musicians lack chops. The truth is that a lot of death metal musicians really know their way around their instruments, especially when the album in question is as technical as Diskreet's Engage the Mechanicality. This Kansas band favors technical death metal with hints of black metal at times. Black metal isn't a huge influence, although there are some black metal rasp vocals to go with lead singer Stephen Babcock's Cookie Monster growling -- and a few of the guitar solos venture a bit into black metal-ish territory. Nonetheless, death metal is the main ingredient on this very thrashy 2010 release, which connects with the primal spirit and animal instincts of punk but also has a thirst for virtuosity. If the members of Diskreet's 2010 lineup (Babcock, guitarists Gerren Andres and Malcolm Pugh, bassist/background vocalist Dustin Albright, and drummer Andy Taylor) didn't have chops, they wouldn't be able to handle the amount of technicality that Engage the Mechanicality thrives on. But the fact that this 38-minute CD is highly technical and goes for an abundance of pyrotechnics doesn't mean that it is musical or has a lot in the way of variety. Engage the Mechanicality is highly predictable, and after the first one or two tracks, the listener has pretty much heard it all. Plus, Diskreet aren't the least bit distinctive; this type of thing has been done countless times. But despite its obvious limitations, Engage the Mechanicality is an exhilarating listen. This is exhilaration taken to a vicious, clobbering extreme, and while Diskreet aren't exactly the kings of originality, Engage the Mechanicality is still a decent, well-played effort -- limitations, shortcomings, and all.

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