OK, I'll admit it. I made some assumptions about this band that put my objectivity at risk before the first spin of "The Imbuing". My initial thoughts were that GIZMACHI's debut album would be nothing more than the next CD with a big name backer (SLIPKNOT's #6, M. Shawn Crahan) to be played endlessly in Hot Topic stores across the nation. Shame on me. It may very well get played at Hot Topic stores, but not because it's trendy MTV nu-metal drivel. On the contrary, "The Imbuing" is a fairly creative and hard-hitting modern metal album.
There are indeed shades of bands like MUDVAYNE that can be heard, mainly in some of the odd-timed rhythms and choppy riffing. A mild SLIPKNOT influence is also apparent. As little attention as I give to that end of the metal spectrum, there is no denying that GIZMACHI has a style that's got character, and good musicianship to go with it. Hell, there's even some nice lead guitar work on the disc.
These aren't snappy beats either; the compositions are often frantic and very aggressive. The tunes feature tons of percussive nastiness and drum battery that'll give you the caffeine shakes. Lots of snap, crackle, and pop, cool accents, and bone crunching rolls characterize the work of drummer Jimmie Hatcher. Crahan's production and Josh Wilbur's engineering add even more punch. Along with the concrete riff chunks and skin bashing comes Sean Kane screaming his guts out, and I'm talking about the stuff that makes veins pop out and eyeballs bulge. The clean vocal parts took me a second time through to begin to appreciate. The songs aren't immediately catchy, but do get better with each listen. More importantly to my ears, the clean vocal parts sound natural, (i.e. not produced to death) and are strategically placed. Besides, with eight tracks clocking in at 46 minutes it's a cinch that GIZMACHI is not going for the easy radio hit. None of these are short tunes, but the last track, "Voice of Sanity", is an eight-minute (for lack of a better term) epic that is very well arranged.
"The Imbuing" may not be a critical favorite or end up on many year-end top 10 lists. It may also be a stretch for the more traditional metal-minded folks to enjoy. However, I enjoyed it and I'm not exactly an MTV-worshippin' kinda guy. Bottom line? "The Imbuing" is a strong first effort and definitely worth a listen.