1. Conspiracy In Mind 2. History Reversed 3. They Need Our Fear 4. Communication Sublime 5. The Distance 6. Ocean Bed 7. Silence Surrounds
Norway seems to be the breeding ground for a whole host of new talent. In the past couple of years I've discovered the marvelous works of Thunderbolt, Guardians Of Time, and Griffin to name a few. The nation is very complex musically, bringing to the metal community the likes of notorious black metal, AOR, and power metal. Now progressive metal gets an introduction courtesy of Communic, a rather abstract band that have their debut record out on powerhouse label Nuclear Blast.
These Norwegians are made up of three members, guitarist/vocalist Oddleif Stensland, Tor Atle Andersen, and keyboardist Peter Jensen. Stensland and Andersen both came from the group Scariot before departing to form Communic. This three piece recorded a demo in April of 2004 and it was well received by the metal press. It didn't take long for the band to find a home, signing with Nuclear Blast in July of 2004 and shortly thereafter began work on their debut record. The group joined forces with "soon to be legendary" producer Jacob Hansen, known for his work with Volbeat, Invocator, and Raunchy.
"Conspiracy Mind" is a unique work that weaves many different genres into an elaborate, progressive tapestry. Just like a colorful tapestry will liven up the dullest of rooms, Communic use many different elements to enhance this sound, almost creating an emotional roller coaster through their use of thrash, prog, and power sensibility. The group focus all of their creative vision on experimentation, never settling for just one pattern, always structuring their songs with plenty of musical flexibility. The band certainly have the ability to thrash with the likes of Overkill or Testament, but the band only stay in that particular mindset for a brief time.
Each cut on this album is filled with the modern thrash vibe, but then the group feel the need to move past that. The group slow the tempo to allow creeping dreamlike sequences to take place. On some songs the group speed up the timing but still keep a slower singing style. At times bands like Nevermore, Twelfth Gate, and Asperity come to mind, but also more experimental acts like Green Carnation are indeed an example of the Communic way of thought. The band combine plenty of different styles into one large melting pot, all set to the very best in modern production. Hansen allows these songs breathing room, calculating the thrash and heavier moments with the most bombastic sound job, but still allowing the slower elements room to shine as well. My only setback is the lenghty songs. Obviously the group is trying to fit plenty of experimention into this material, but too much can be a bad thing. In this case it is, with every song at least six minutes long. Thankfully the group keep the tracks to a minimum, sticking with seven tracks total.
Overall this is an enjoyable record, although a bit moody. Communic are better fit for fans of Opeth, Nevermore, Bio-Mechanical, and Green Carnation. Those of you looking for a good, modern thrash band that adds plenty of other elements should lean heavily towards "Conspiracy Mind". For me personally, there just isn't enough of a steady flow here, with too much happening within each song.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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