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Believer - 'Transhuman' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/24/4f/c6/1577_believertranshuman_1315938816.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 13, 2011    
 
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You can enjoy it, or try and stare it down, but you can't ignore it.

Originally lumped in with Cynic and Pestilence when they started out back in the Eighties Believer has pretty much always been at the forefront of boundary-pushing metal. A sixteen-year gap after their third album put them in the MIA file, but 2009 saw founder members Kurt Bachman (guitars/vocals) and Joey Daub (drums) hook up with Kevin Leaman (keyboards/programming), Jeff King (guitars) and Elton Nestler (bass/programming) for the critically acclaimed 'Gabriel' album, and although Nestler is no longer in the frame, the band continue to ride a wave of critical creativity with 'Transhuman'.

A lot of reviewers seem to concentrate on the bands thrash origins, but what Believer now produce is truly progressive/cyber metal – blend equal parts Fates Warning and Fear Factory and throw in a healthy dose of despondency and you're pretty much in the right territory. Lyrically, the album is inspired by Transhumanist philosophies, defined by the World Transhumanist Association as:

1. The intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities; and ...

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2. The study of the ramifications, promises, and potential dangers of technologies that will enable us to overcome fundamental human limitations, and the related study of the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies which gives you a feel for the background to what is a deeply confrontational album. There's no ballads here, and no respite from the onslaught of fierce riffs, pounding rhythms and Bachman's abrasive vocals. 'Transhuman' is demandingly heavy at times, bleakly dystopian at others, but never by any means easy listening; instead it almost challenges the senses to accept its audio assault, much as we are all programmed to accept the inevitability of technological progress whether we like it or not. 

Bachman's voice might be too harsh for some, but it's perfectly suited to the complexities and desolation of the band's material. 'Transhuman' is a soundtrack to an unrecognisable, unforgiving future which is closer than we think. It's harsh and unforgiving, yet challenging and ultimately fulfilling. You can enjoy it, or try and stare it down, but you can't ignore it.

John Tucker

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