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The Berzerker - World of Lies - 2005 - Earache

Track Listing
1. Committed to Nothing
2. Black Heart
3. All About You
4. Burn the Evil
5. World of Tomorrow
6. Follow Me
7. "Y"
8. As The World Waits
9. Afterlife
10. Never Hated More
11. Free Yourself
12. Constant Pain
13. .........
14. Farewell
Alongside Napalm Death, Nasum, and Pig Destroyer, The Berzerker are perhaps the most well-known troupe in the modern grind scene. Famous for their super-sped drum programming as well as their roiling precision, The Berzerker also were one of the first to employ the use of spoken word samples as prelude to many of their tracks, a technique later used (and abused) extensively in the gore/grind scene. The band also gained renown for the repulsive masks the members would wear during live shows, and also from a rumor regarding their one-time drummer supposedly holding the world record for beats per minute. The Berzerker’s reputation became a formidable thing, and the mystery surrounding their actual musical identity became arguably more well known than the songs themselves.

The bpm record rumor was eventually debunked, and with the release of the band’s third album ‘World of Lies’ the masks came off, exposing rather scruffy but decidedly human faces. While there is much to be said for reputation and atmosphere surrounding a band, perhaps it is best that as The Berzerker take the main-stage for grind and Earache Records that they shed some of the more extraneous elements of their image to better direct attention towards their music.

Listening to this album, though, I am wondering whether the shedding process cut a little too deep. While ‘World of Lies’ is an extremely solid album and a worthy addition to The Berzerker’s discography, sometimes it sounds as if part of it is still lying on the editing room floor. Riffs seem incomplete, drumbeats lackluster (which is at this point inexcusable, since they have returned to the use of a drum machine).

At the same time, there is definitive progression that took place between 2002’s ‘Dissimilate’ and ‘World of Lies’, which is a rarity in the grindcore field. I hear more tonal modulation from track to track, though I still half-seriously wonder whether the spoken word intros are more to help the audience quickly distinguish one song from the other than to create an atmosphere. That aside, this album certainly takes new steps, particularly on tracks like ‘Afterlife’, which opens with an undeniably black metal harmony before cutting to a trademark brutal hook, which, in another nice touch, phases from speaker to speaker. Other tracks, such as the standout ‘Follow Me’ exude confidence and mastery. The Berzerker have undeniably realized their potential as the industrially tinged speed grind band of the world, and have the hooks and tricks to prove it. Luke Kenny, the group’s foci and main songwriter also does an excellent job on vocals, choosing his spots to layer gurgles over growls and vice versa.

The album even has an instrumental outro track, which is likely the slowest song ever written by The Berzerker. It is a heavily atmospheric piece of synthesized strings and a repetitive guitar lead that meanders along for more than 20 minutes. While well intentioned, it is indeed far too long, and does not merit much listening beyond the first time, though its presence is noted as a worthy effort at capping a new direction taken for this group.

Once all is over, and ‘Farewell’ has finally ended, I deem ‘World of Lies’ a quality album that for the most part lives up to its hype. This album’s success and shortcomings are likely heavily influenced by the departure of guitarist Matt Wilcock, who tossed in his lot to move to England and was quickly picked up by Akercocke. To replace him, The Berzerker now boast five core members, including three guitarists; a sixth member also exists, named Ivan, who, for the life of me, I cannot place nor explain. This shuffling of members from one album to the next is bound to slow down the pace and progress most any musical group, and while this effort is perhaps not so frenzied as previous efforts, it is still a quality release and top contender for grind album of the year.




--Etiam 04.21.05


Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: THE BERZERKER
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TITLE BAND
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REVIEWER DATE
World of LiesThe Berzerker
2005
Etiam5/15/2006


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