ELEMENT — The Energy (review)

ELEMENT — The Energy album cover Album · 2010 · Technical Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"The Energy" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US death metal act Element. The album was released in November 2011 by Brutal Bands. Element impressed me quite a lot with their debut album "Aeons Past (2007)", which is a brutal technical death metal album, but of the more memorable kind. Things have changed on "The Energy" though (apparently to the great dismay of fans of brutal technical death metal). First of all Element is now a one-man project. Mason Gregory handles both guitars, bass and vocals on the album. On the debut album KC Howard from Decrepit Birth played the drums, but on this album Mason Gregory has programmed the drums.

The music on the album is technical death metal with loads of melodic elements and a slight progressive edge. A reference to acts like Obscura and Abysmal Dawn wouldn´t be wrong but there´s a slight influence in the music from an act like Cynic too. The influence from the latter is only heard in the most mellow spacy sections of the album though. The musicianship is on an extremely high level throughout the album. Fast technical riffing, epic melodic themes and intricate song structures are some of the features on "The Energy". There are still traces of the band´s brutal past in some of the most fast-paced blasting death metal parts, but the pace is generally slower than on the last album and the vocals are not as one-dimensionally brutal as the case was on the debut album. Here Mason Gregory varies his vocals between deep growling and more higher pitched raspy styled vocals. The tracks are generally very memorable with strong hooks. Both melodic hooks and rythmic ones too. I´m actually rather impressed by how well the songs are composed. Lots of clever tempo- and time signature changes grace the songs, but it´s never at the expence of flow or power.

The production suits the music well but there are a few issues with the sound. The programmed drums, while being very well programmed, still sound... well programmed. They simply lack the human factor that only a "real" human drummer can provide and therefore they are the weak link on the album. As mentioned it´s not the biggest issue and I´m fully able to enjoy the album without thinking too much about it. I just feel obligated to give it a mention.

Other than that slight issue, my overall feeling about this album is one of amazement. I have read very few reviews of "The Energy" on the sites that I regularly visit and the album seems a bit overlooked. I´d say that´s quite a shame. "The Energy" deserves much more attention from fans of melodic technical death metal than it apparently gets. Such a high quality release deserves a 3.5 - 4 star rating.
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