'The Unconsciousness Of Living' - Illogicist (7/10)
Illogicist stole my heart a couple of years back with their second album 'The Insight Eye'. With technical ferocity, strong hooks in the songwriting, and an organic sense of production that seemed to go against the trends of modern tech death, I found myself very impressed by what these Italians could conjure with a style of metal I usually do not find so appealing. 'The Unconsciousness Of Living' is Illogicist's third effort, and they are in form, more or less. Again, this band releases some very chaotic and cerebral death metal; very much the same thing that they have done before. It is for this very reason that despite Illogicist's consistent technical wizardry, I don't find myself quite as drawn towards this album as I did their earlier work.
Had I not heard the work of Illogicist before, I could see myself falling in love with 'The Unconsciousness Of Living'. The music that this band makes may be best aligned with the progressive, philosophical sounds of a band like Death, but Illogicist's sound can be defined and distinguished apart from their peers, and that is something I would not say often for death metal. The band has a very dynamic sense of rhythm in their music; each of these songs sees the band go from slower, gloomy chugging, to near-thrash intensity. All of this is bound by a real sense of composition in Illogicist's music. The time signature changes here are fast and frequent, and fans of highly technical metal will find a treasure chest of well fleshed out ideas here. The band's ability to play and perform these riffs is no slouch either; guitarists Ambrosi and Minieri wow me with a seemingly unrelenting barrage of off-time riffs. The bass work in the album is phenomenal, and Illogicist make the bold statement to have their bassist clearly heard in the mix, and only to their benefit. The drumming of Illogicist is the most conventional aspect of the band's sound, but well played. I would have more good things to say about Alessandro Tinti's work if the mixing had not sought to push it so far into the background.
Really, Illogicist's work here is incredible, from a technical and compositional perspective. Even so, the fact remains that nothing has changed from 'The Insight Eye'. Over the course of years, one would think that the band may have added a new degree or development to their music, but no; I am hearing almost the exact same sound as I did before, and instead of loving every second of it, I get a somewhat disappointing sense of deja vu. Splitting hairs, there is more of an emphasis on technicality here, but I find that this comes at a loss of the hooks that made 'The Insight Eye' such a delight for me. With repeated listens, large aspects of this album's sound become recognizable and familiar, but I would have maybe preferred to have heard a little more variety and sense of surprise on the record. Also worthy of mention is the fact that throughout the entire album, I think I only heard one guitar tone, that being the same one that the band has used in the past. The positive angle of this is that Illogicist do have a strong grasp of one sound, but the lack of variety fails to inspire me the way my first experience with the band did.
This lack of progress forward aside, 'The Unconsciousness Of Living' is an incredibly accomplished technical death metal record, and its positive aspects- of which there are many- cannot be ignored. Someone who has not yet heard this band should be amazed by what Illogicist offers, and even to existing fans such as myself, their work here certainly does not disappoint. With a twist or slightest change in their formula however, I think I would have been a lot more impressed.