Re-activated metallers release conceptual album
Believer were originally known for their brand of technical thrash metal and released ‘Extraction From Mortality’ (1989), ‘Sanity Obscure’ (1990) and ‘Dimensions’ (1993). The main styles included raw guitar, brutal distortion, time changes and virtuoso riffs with raspy, screeching vocals. The two main band members are Kurt Bachman (vocals & guitar) and Joey Daub (drums).
They set themselves higher standards than many christian bands and aimed at being better than most secular bands. Because of this they were jointly signed to REX (christian label) and Roadrunner Records (secular). Never content to stay in the niche christian scene, they toured with Bolt Thrower.
The band split up in 1994 by mutual agreement. However in 2008 they resurfaced with a deal on Metal Blade Records and the new album ‘Gabriel’ (2009) included appearances by Rocky Gray (Living Sacrifice, Evanescence), Joe Rico (Sacrifice) and Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage). On ‘Gabriel’ they used conventional thrash riffs and solos with progressive elements, whereas ‘Transhuman’ focuses on vocal melodies, layered guitars and add some keyboards. This is so far removed from their original sound that you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a different band. On this outing Kurt Bachman (vocals & guitar) and Joey Daub (drums) are joined by Elton Nestler (bass & programming), Jeff King (keyboards & programming) and Kevin Leaman (guitar).
Kurt Bachman stated “The concept is based on transhuman philosophies as we move towards technology surpassing the limits of human biology. This is happening now, and technology is advancing exponentially. There are many ethical and moral concerns surrounding these happenings, and these are touched upon in the lyrical content on the album. Also, what it means to be human in general and how we perceive ourselves in this world.”
After an orchestral intro, it’s straight into groove-laden metal with a majestic chorus “Lie Awake/I stand before you/Lie Awake/Wipe the tears and close your eyes”. Notably it is the only track featuring a guest, Travis Turner, who played drums. Technically ambitious, “G.U.T.” throws in off-kilter riffs that compliment the sound-bite lyrics. They also catch you out with the xylophone intro to “Transfection” before muscular guitar and swirling keyboard ensues “Welcome to my world/It’s3 o’clock AM/Welcome to my mind/I’m blacking out again”. There are heavyweight intellectuals credited with inspiration, such as Dr. Thomas Metzinger (and his book “The Ego Tunnel”) on “Ego Machine”, so expect some mental stimulation alongside the dischordant instrumentation. Ending with the progressive “Mindsteps” that melds menacing keys, harsh vocals and monumentally leaden riffage, this feels like it is part of a much bigger story.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
01. Lie Awake
04. End Of Infinity
06. Clean Room
09. Ego Machine
10. Being No One
Extraction From Mortality (1989)
Sanity Obscure (1990)
Label: Metalblade Records / March 2011