Originally written by Chris Redar
Oh, hey, look! It’s Diseased Reason from Tucson, Arizona, and they’ve put out an album! Wonder what this sounds like? Let’s just pop it in the ol’ SD card storage here… Hang on, it has to buffer and such… Ah, here we go.
*repeats five more times, as that is the minimum amount of spins a reviewed album gets with these ears*
Okay, the seven spins are complete. Here’s what the head microchip has come up with: Diseased Reason play a grind/metal style that’s as much Nasum as it is Burnt By the Sun, Knut, and Unsane. The focus actually seems to be much less on the grind, giving the blasty bits a ‘pleasant surprise’ sensation, rather than leaning on speed as a crutch to disguise a lack of songwriting ability. “A Perfect Knot,” the leadoff, doesn’t hit the 160 BPM mark until over midway through the 3:48 running time, instead relying on–get this–riffs to do the heavy lifting. This is something Recombinant does very well: Any given style represented on a track doesn’t stick around long enough to pigeonhole the band into a concrete genre, but nothing is so scattered or ill-fitting that it sounds like it was vomited onto a huge whiteboard and then reassembled haphazardly.
This could also be viewed as a negative in some respects, however. Without a touchpoint, Recombinant lacks a concrete identity, landing in the dreaded “pretty good, but not great” spot in the middle of the playing field. This is a huge topic of debate (or, if you will, mass debate) amongst the community at large. Is “pretty good” good enough these days? Again, it can’t be stressed enough that Recombinant is more than listenable. The issue is sticking power. This year is already flushing phenomenal grind down the toilet like it’s nothing. Whereas a track like “Irradiated, ”with its fluttery fretwork and off-time tempo, sounds wholly original, the majority of the album seems very much the sum of some great influences rather than a creation.
And this is where we end up in that respect. Recombinant is good listening. A grind addict might go so far as to say it’s very good listening. And it’s certainly enough to keep the name on the radar to see what the band does next. But it is most definitely a debut. Diseased Reason will have to spread their wings and take some chances on their next outing, but for now, this is pretty good.
But not great.