There's no denying that the Danish 'future fusion' metallers known as MNEMIC have been on quite the roll lately. After being handpicked by METALLICA to open two European tours and given the proverbial thumbs-up by everyone from the DEFTONES to MESHUGGAH, big things loomed on MNEMIC's horizon. These accolades and the success of their last effort, "Passenger", meant that MNEMIC had to come into 2010 swinging for the fences.And swing for the fences they do on "Sons Of The System". Unfortunately, the band's sleeves are a bit too weighted down by their influences to knock this one out of the park. Sure, MNEMIC's blend of industrial, modern thrash and melodic death has started to mold into something all its own, but this album is full of sections that come too close to the likes of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, MESHUGGAH and Cazares-less FEAR FACTORY for comfort. That being said, these dudes can pen a pretty damn solid tune. While I personally feel that "Passenger" packed a little more punch, "Sons Of The System" is not without its highlights. An explosive ball of mechanized thrash and groove, the album's title track is an immediate attention-grabber. We also get an overview of vocalist Guillaume Bideau's scream/sing/shout formula, which he follows for much of the record. In his defense, he does have a very skilled set of pipes and formulaic approach isn't nearly as uninteresting as that of many of his peers. Despite the fact that they should offer MESHUGGAH's Fredrik Thordendal a few bucks for the use of his tone, the guitar work of Mircea Gabriel Eftemie and Rune Stigart is what separates this album from the pack. The duo spend the length of the album going from concrete-thick rhythmic chugs to twisted melo-death riffing to richly textured sections of metallic atmosphere. "Diesel Uterus" (worth mentioning by title alone), "Within" and the nearly epic and wildly diverse "March Of The Tripods" are good examples of what these two are capable of doing once they step outside of their record collections. Compared to their last three, "Sons Of The System" relies more heavily on electronics and Eftemie's keyboards, which does well in creating some of the disc's more ambient and cyber-fueled moments. Surprisingly though, the overall production is much more "human" than we've heard from MNEMIC before. Yes, there's the expected coat of gloss and polish over the top, but producer Tue Madsen did a nice job in keeping some real blood pulsing through this one. I don't see "Sons Of The System" immediately catapulting MNEMIC to the level of the "name" acts they've had the privilege of touring with, but they are taking another step up the ladder. The focus here seems to be more on formula than forward progress, but there is an experimental edge to the album as well. This is full of good songs, but I don't think we've seen everything MNEMIC is capable of yet.
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