In the Wake of Separation - THINE EYES BLEED

Let's get the hype out of the way first. THINE EYES BLEED includes Tom Araya's brother, Johnny, on bass guitar. I'm happy for the PR and label folks that have an immediate selling point based on the surname, but it's pretty meaningless beyond that. Sure, there's plenty of SLAYER-esque guitar-squawking going on, but all that does is put TEB into a field of thousands. Oh, yeah, the band also includes former KITTIE guitarist/technician Jeff Phillips. Is that a selling point?

Blackened (and thrashy) metalcore is the first genre descriptor that comes to mind primarily due to the shrieking vocals of Justin Wolfe, though one can also hear "Heartwork"-era CARCASS in his style. Musically, there are small bits and pieces of THE HAUNTED and THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER in the mix as well. Nine tracks with some damn vicious guitar work and ominous riffing, as well as a looser rhythm section style (compared to the sometimes overly precise delivery of Swedish thrashers and metalcore bashers) are the order of the day. I just don't hear much in the way of standout tunes. There are rays of light, such as a pace change that bring a clean (though chilling) vocal section with creepy riffs on "Live to Die", as well as similar foreboding passages (sans the clean vocals) on "Corpse you Up", "Innocent Mind", and "Regret your Fear". That indefinable queasy feeling one gets from listening to the more menacing bands of the pack works well for TEB. If it's evil atmosphere that you seek, TEB delivers. Still, no one track left an indelible impression after repeat listens, probably the album's main downfall.

Lots of barbwire, sometimes non-traditional, axe attacks, a furious delivery, and generally morbid vibe are characteristics that I certainly love to hear, and there does seem to be a hint of originality in the manner in which the band straddles genres. Taken as aural medicine for the sociopath, the album is a winner. I just didn't hear enough to leave me satisfied nor make me want to put "In the Wake of Separation" in the heavy-rotation pile. Maybe this one will grow on me, but right now the feeling is one of indifference.

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