The use of palm-muted fretwork has become quite popular in modern metal, particularly in the prog metal and metalcore scenes. Popularized by acts like Meshuggah, this playing style has become so popular that it even sparked the term "djent", referring to this technique paired with math metal song structures. Hailing from Dallas, Texas is Nociceptor, one of the most promising groups of "djentlemen" on the scene right now. Pairing the brutal math-metal fretwork of Mehuggah with the memorability of Raunchy, Nociceptor has created a unique EP that should please most metalcore fans. Though not flawless, Among Insects is certainly one of the better modern metalcore releases I've heard. If heavy breakdowns, relentless fretwork, and a touch of melody are what you're searching for, look no further than Among Insects!
Nociceptor plays a style of djent-drenched metalcore with touches of prog metal, thrash metal (the modern, Meshuggah-influenced type), and math metal. If you're expecting the teenage-geared, cheesy-as-hell metalcore that seemingly dominates the genre, definitely look away - this is metalcore for metalheads, plain and simple. The occasionally clean-sung choruses refrain from heading into cheesy territory, and still remain thick and masculine. I have great respect for Nociceptor's take on metalcore, and their compositions are also quite impressive. Most songs here utilize memorable riffs and song structures, without taking the "easy way out" by including tons of melodic hooks. Among Insects relies a bit too heavily upon breakdowns and down-tuned riffing for my tastes, though - the 37 minute playing time can feel a tad monotonous due to the lack of variation within the arrangements. If Nociceptor can work a little bit on changing up their sound, I think immediate improvements will be noticed.
As with most "djent" albums, the focus of Among Insects is mainly on the guitarist. In this case, that's certainly a good thing considering Travis Montgomery is a terrific axeman in every sense of the word. His mastery in the palm-muted field is particularly impressive. Drummer Michael Eskandari is also particularly noteworthy; his hard-hitting, powerful style truly grabs my attention. All in all, Nociceptor is simply a professional and tight-playing unit, and that's essential to music like this. The production is also crisp, clean, and powerful. Although it may be too polished for some people's tastes, I think it suits the music perfectly.
I was very impressed by Among Insects, and I hope it leads to a successful future for Nociceptor. This EP isn't a perfect masterpiece due to its generally stagnant arrangements, but I still find it highly recommendable and a worthy purchase for all metalcore fans. Among Insects is a professional, powerful, and memorable release well deserving of 3.5 stars. I'm very much interested to hear what Nociceptor has next up their sleeves - until then, these "djentlemen" have certainly impressed with Among Insects!