INSENSE
"Soothing Torture"

(Candlelight)

01. Helplessness
02. Making Up For Lost Time
03. I, Deviant
04. Gasping For Air
05. Constriction
06. The Forgiving Embrace
07. Soothing Torture
08. Clawing at the Nerve
09. A Prayer For the Feeble
10. Fallout

RATING: 5.5/10

An unconvincing mish-mash of styles marks the Stateside debut of Norway's INSENSE, a band who seem to have remembered to throw everything into their sonic stew — except compelling songwriting. Though it may be a novelty to hear a band from Oslo doing anything besides black metal, the resulting third-rate gumbo of MESHUGGAH, FEAR FACTORY, and C-grade Swedish thrash doesn't inspire repeated listens.

Things start out promising with the jerky, off-kilter, slow opener "Helplessness", foretelling an album full of heavy, apocalyptic music in the vein of GOJIRA or MESHUGGAH. Then, a quick about-face into generic Swedethrash on "Making Up For Lost Time", before we get more promising guitar work on "I, Deviant". And then suddenly there's a clean metalcore chorus a la KILLSWITCH ENGAGE.

Such sonic experimentation isn't a bad thing by any stretch — it should be applauded when a band takes steps to avoid sounding like a cookie-cutter clone of a particular scene. But there's a whiff of desperation about the way INSENSE does it — sort of a sleight-of-hand that, done quickly enough, may distract the listener from the fact that each facet of the band's sound is handled in a very generic manner. Is it better to rip off lots of bands in little increments and piece it together? Or to throw in stylistic elements at the beginning ("Helplessness") that never come back into play, adding to the random nature of the record?

There are frustrating hints of promise scattered throughout "Soothing Torture" — the peppy guitar parts to "The Forgiving Embrace", which are quickly torpedoed by weak vocals, for instance. The overall effect is one of blandness and ennui — with so much better stuff out there, why settle for second-rate metal with an identity crisis? INSENSE could still gel at some point, and if they can hone their focus while remaining this stylistically diverse, they'll really be something. For now, though, they're not doing themselves (or anyone else) any favors.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).