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Cruentus [reviews]
Terminal Code |Cruentus, 2010|

01. Contortion, 02. Inhale Exhale, 03. Disintegrate, 04. Neuro City Agenda, 05. Unthinkable Complexity, 06. Fractal Architecture Of The Stock Market, 07. Terminal Code, 08. Love And Tensor Algebra, 09. Dead End, 10. Paradigm, 11. Love And Tensor Algebra II, 12. Simsense_XP

A touch of music brought up on the third studio album by Cruentus will surge through you like an electric shock. However, a listener should survive that and find themselves quite driven.

Cruentus (in Latin: bloody) is a Polish band with a long history behind them. The band was founded in 1999 and initially presented doom-goth-black-symphonic-metal vibes, then turned to mathcore and industrial metal in 2007. Their inspiration is derived from bands like Fear Factory, Meshuggah, Red Harvest and slightly a taste of Static-X as well.
The band line-up consists of two guitar players, a bassist, drummer, keyboard player and the lead singer of course. However, the line-up has been changing over the years which is usually typical for long running collectives.

The newest album has already gathered a lot of positive reviews in large and small music magazines. The mathcore style is kind of new to me, (and truly speaking, tiresome due to the density of sounds) but it seems evident that not many bands either use that name yet or are aware of the term in relation to their music. Moreover, journalists seem to be just now catching on to the term, as well as where it is appropriate to use it to classify this genre properly and to separate it for example from industrial metal.

There are a lot of vanguard dissonances, poly-rhythms and mathematically calculated beats in mathcore music. All of which create a "wall of sound" (A term coined by the infamous Phil Spector in the 1960's when applied to the "Little Symphonies" approach). However, for the most part, I can't feel any special depth to this style in the same manner of what I also feel about death metal (caused by the drums and overkilled by redundant rhythms). A layer of aggressive yet harmonic vocals put over the sound structure amplifies methods of lyrical anger, but more often than not sounds flat to me somehow. This is my personal perspective as I written about in the above paragraphs, but I find it quite suitable when comparing mathcore to fiery industrial metal music as brought by true masters of the original style such as Ministry.

Terminal Code is filled with music consisting of mathematical dissonances and a level aggression. A wall of distorted guitars and screamed lyrics opens the release with the song "Contortion", very similar to the sound of Fear Factory and Strapping Young Lad, while the following songs are kept in similar moods.
My attention was grabbed by "Neuro City Agenda" and "Paradigm" since there were a few good samples used in the backround, far more than in any other song.

There are some stand outs on the tracklist as well. One song in particular without guitar that has a very interesting title; "Fractal Architecture Of The Stock Market" (which could be successfully used for a surreal illustration) that is full of drum'n'bass and breakcore inserts. The other is "Simsense_XP" that consist of experimental structures that should be listened to in a deeper context to catch and understand its meaning.
There is also a track titled "Love And Tensor Algebra II" on the album which could open a lot of possibilities towards multimedia endeavors as well as soundtrack possibilities for the band since the themes are fit perfectly for science fiction movies or video games of this kind System Shock.

Cruentus utilizes their lyrical platform (in English) to criticize and attack the present reality of world affairs, modern technology and the impact of these vices on human kind and psychological behavioral patterns. This is done in a manner that aggressively critiques the impact these deep seeded social institutions have and stigmatizes their outlook on modern society. It becomes obvious that the musicians are fascinated with science fiction movies and literature, reaching out into the works of the famous Polish writer Stanislaw Lem (while "Love & Tensor Algebra" includes an original excerpt of his Cyberiada novel) as well as for example: William Gibson, the cyberpunk icon.
Moreover, the Terminal Code album features high quality production and the correct usage of the English language in their lyrics, along with the proper context. This attention to detail should help the band as they enter a variety of the most important metal music festivals in Europe, as well as their opportunities overseas.

Personally speaking, I am growing tired of such a density of layered sounds (especially the drums), so I would recommend this album to those who understand what mathcore music is all about and who also have an intuitive feel towards the depth and power of this style,s since this format of music is not for everyone.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 12/29/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)

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