World of Lies
5/15/2006 - Review by: EtiamThe Berzerker - World of Lies - 2005 - Earache
The bpm record rumor was eventually debunked, and with the release of the band’s third album ‘World of Lies’ the masks came off, exposing rather scruffy but decidedly human faces. While there is much to be said for reputation and atmosphere surrounding a band, perhaps it is best that as The Berzerker take the main-stage for grind and Earache Records that they shed some of the more extraneous elements of their image to better direct attention towards their music.
Listening to this album, though, I am wondering whether the shedding process cut a little too deep. While ‘World of Lies’ is an extremely solid album and a worthy addition to The Berzerker’s discography, sometimes it sounds as if part of it is still lying on the editing room floor. Riffs seem incomplete, drumbeats lackluster (which is at this point inexcusable, since they have returned to the use of a drum machine).
At the same time, there is definitive progression that took place between 2002’s ‘Dissimilate’ and ‘World of Lies’, which is a rarity in the grindcore field. I hear more tonal modulation from track to track, though I still half-seriously wonder whether the spoken word intros are more to help the audience quickly distinguish one song from the other than to create an atmosphere. That aside, this album certainly takes new steps, particularly on tracks like ‘Afterlife’, which opens with an undeniably black metal harmony before cutting to a trademark brutal hook, which, in another nice touch, phases from speaker to speaker. Other tracks, such as the standout ‘Follow Me’ exude confidence and mastery. The Berzerker have undeniably realized their potential as the industrially tinged speed grind band of the world, and have the hooks and tricks to prove it. Luke Kenny, the group’s foci and main songwriter also does an excellent job on vocals, choosing his spots to layer gurgles over growls and vice versa.
The album even has an instrumental outro track, which is likely the slowest song ever written by The Berzerker. It is a heavily atmospheric piece of synthesized strings and a repetitive guitar lead that meanders along for more than 20 minutes. While well intentioned, it is indeed far too long, and does not merit much listening beyond the first time, though its presence is noted as a worthy effort at capping a new direction taken for this group.
Once all is over, and ‘Farewell’ has finally ended, I deem ‘World of Lies’ a quality album that for the most part lives up to its hype. This album’s success and shortcomings are likely heavily influenced by the departure of guitarist Matt Wilcock, who tossed in his lot to move to England and was quickly picked up by Akercocke. To replace him, The Berzerker now boast five core members, including three guitarists; a sixth member also exists, named Ivan, who, for the life of me, I cannot place nor explain. This shuffling of members from one album to the next is bound to slow down the pace and progress most any musical group, and while this effort is perhaps not so frenzied as previous efforts, it is still a quality release and top contender for grind album of the year.
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