I find peace in my mind and soul, when listening to progressive metal, end of story. That makes me think. Everything is beautiful about the so called “djent” musical landscape, and so I’m glad this release was bestowed upon me. Branding this release by Lifeforms as delicious ear candy for fans of the Swedish prog metal icons Meshuggah, pioneers Periphery, Vildhjarta, Monuments and Volumes makes my mouth water, and demands my fully attention. So I then decided to lock myself away in a basement, pushed the play button and cranked up the volume on my powerful sound system…regretfully.
A meteorite launched from a unknown planet, inhabited by the djent movement, has impacted in the state, also known as California, located on the West Coast of the United States, and it brought something wicked to our little precious blue planet. This new “lifeform” is controlled by the Sacramento-based quintet with Howie on vocals, Arik on guitar and vocals, Erick on guitar, Chad on bass, and finally Josh on drums. With two EP’s (Illusions and Synthetic) unleashed to the always hungering and demanding metal crowd, the German record label Lifeforce Records was seduced and fallen in love with Lifeforms, who is now ready to conquer new territories with their latest effort and debut album entitled “Multidimensional”.
With ten hard hitting songs included on the track list and a limited running time of total thirty minutes, they get right to the point with the short but very effective instrumental intro “Descent into Madness”. It’s surprisingly good, even though it sounds like a rip-off of the ambient layers found within the universe of Swedish Vildhjarta, with its intense, dark and creepy atmosphere surrounding it. Then sadly darkness falls and all hope feels like gone, when the second tune and the title track of the album kicks in. The down-tuned polyrhythmic riffing delivered by Arik and his wingman Erick are actually quite nicely executed, but the brutal growls and screams simply destroys the whole listening experience, and disturbs my inner peace with the very unclear presence of the vocal performances. Once we reach the middle section of the album, something magical happens though. With tracks like “Reflections II” and “Home” you can wave goodbye to the monotonous and repetitive sound haunting the entire album, and welcome some good old melodic vibes on board. It doesn’t save this shipwreck from its destiny at the bottom of the turbulent sea of progressive metal, but at least our journey with Lifeforms becomes enjoyable and pleasant even though it only last for some minutes.
Well, it’s time to wrap it all up. If the quintet step up their game in the vocal department, add more variety to the songs, forges a more identifiable sound to stand out amongst the “djenters” on the already overpopulated progressive metal scene, and finally increases the short playing time of only half an hour, so it actually feels like a full album and not a third attempt of an EP, then I can see a spark of hope and a bright future for all five musicians of Lifeforms within the music business.