Formulaic and Daffy
Abiotic’s Casuistry, their sophomore album, is nothing if not intense, dynamic, and hardcore. With a heavy emphasis on drums and wicked guitar lines throughout, the album leads track to track in cacophony melded together through aforementioned guitar in somewhat intriguing ways. When interviewed, the guitarist John Matos stated they were looking more towards the live experience, focusing more on composition and how tracks would work in a concert environment. With the addition of Brent Phillips as drummer and Travis Bartosek on vocals, the band put forth their best effort to create what they expect to be a great Dethmetal album. However, not all live experiences make great albums.
Regrettably, Casuistry falls short of the reasonable goal the band had set for themselves. While no doubt a great album to play and head-bang to live, listening to the album track by track leaves you nonplused and unamused. Due to the concert aspect, everything feels extremely formulaic, to the point where you can actually almost see the neon sign proclaiming “Bang your head here” or “Hey, we’re about to do something totally predictable.”
An example of this is “Reanimated Destruction,” where from the start the band practically checks off the list of how to make a song in the genre of Dethmetal. The vocals are good, Bartosek really shining as both a deep growler and a higher screamer. However, he over taxes himself it seems during more immediate transitions, and his voice tends to fall flat on the subsequent lines.
On the musical artistry, the guitars and bass are excellent. Every bassline put forth by Alex Vasquez was truly astounding and mind-blowing, and Matos’ technicality is insanely awesome. The drumming however was just insane. With great double kick comes great responsibility, and sadly Phillips used it as everything from a filler to an entire drumline. In “Falling into Obscurity,” this lead to an immense amount of clutter and noise at the end, leaving the song on an odd note.
As stated, not all live experiences make great albums. What this album lacks in structural creativity, it makes up for with pizzazz and kick drum.