Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Kevlar Skin - Transmigrator

Hailing from Spain are Kevlar Skin, a five piece band who have branded their unique fusion of brutal death metal and grindcore across three EPs, two splits, and now three full-length albums since 1998. Despite their long career, the band have been able to retain three of their original four members, replacing their original bassist in 2003; although they have gone through another bassist, an additional vocalist and a secondary guitarist in the process. Nevertheless, 2014 has brought us the third full-length release by Kevlar Skin, Transmigrator.

Genre: Brutal Death Metal, Grindcore
Release Date: April 28th, 2014
  1. Dawn of a Nation
  2. Breed of Salvation
  3. Self Proclaimed God
  4. Transmigrator
  5. Hardware (M.A.R.K. 13)
  6. Voluntary Extinction
  7. Flatline Famine
  8. Rebirth from Collapse
  9. La Salvacion de las Almas por el Odio
Total Playtime: 39 minutes, 25 seconds




Rating: 8.0/10





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Hailing from Spain are Kevlar Skin, a five piece band who have branded their unique fusion of brutal death metal and grindcore across three EPs, two splits, and now three full-length albums since 1998. Despite their long career, the band have been able to retain three of their original four members, replacing their original bassist in 2003; although they have gone through another bassist, an additional vocalist and a secondary guitarist in the process. Nevertheless, 2014 has brought us the third full-length release by Kevlar Skin, Transmigrator.

Instilled from the beginning of the album, with the mechanical introduction during "Dawn of a Nation", the material has a cold, calculated feel that's hard to shake; it really draws in the listener right from the get-go. Almost akin to newer Skinless work, though not quite as fast. This mood comes to be a necessity, as the content proves itself to be filled with stiff compositions that have the tendency to relapse into standard death metal expectations, but there's plenty of audible candy to go around.

That's not to say that there aren't any creative song structures, "Dawn of a Nation", "Self Proclaimed God", "Transmigrator", "Voluntary Extinction" and "Rebirth from Collapse" are all striking tracks in their own right, but the material surrounding these exceptions is where the album falters. Where the content introduces a multitude of technical snippets, the end result is that the framework is a rapid combination of death metal with slight grindcore undertones. These snippets never really feel embedded into the mainframe, and instead are sprinkled on top for extra zest; the band also finds themselves using the same techniques redundantly.


The drum hits are powerfully sincere, there's a meaningful impact behind every beat. "Self Proclaimed God" starts off with a series of rapid double bass kicks, which extend into deeper areas of the track, and "Voluntary Extinction" has a lavish area where the drummer freely partakes in a drum solo despite the guitar clutter around him. Other than generous portions of gallops and triplets, the listener can expect to hear a lot of blast beats and double bass kick filler. Another unfortunate downer is that the vocals are unable to stand out for more than a few memorable areas. They typically rest at the same monotonous mid-level throughout much of the material, though they do reach an immense, brutal death metal low during "Transmigrator".

Where Transmigrator flourishes is with the bass guitar, which seems to be Kevlar Skin's go-to for technical diversity. Scattered in abundance throughout the album are complex bass lines, and the element stays on the proverbial heels of the guitar in production level. Some of the more illustrious moments are when the title track shows off a series of fast finger picked bass notes on the high string, and the absolutely enthralling chorus of "Voluntary Extinction" that has both the bass and rhythm guitar acting in unison. The latter track is also home to some of the best rhythm guitar work on the album, displaying a series of anomalous picking, harmonics, and rapidly picked strings that cause a buzzing sensation.

While everything mentioned here sounds like it would make Transmigrator an enthralling experience, which it does, the entire event feels forced. In general, the profound excursions sound like they were added as an afterthought; but with a bit more polishing it's almost certain that Kevlar Skin can take this awkwardness out of their sound. Some portions of the content also sound close to that of grindcore band Cattle Decapitation, especially "Flatline Famine", which is close in rhythm to that of "Into the Public Bath". Other than the small nitpicking, Kevlar Skin have issued a fantastic album that deserves more recognition than what it's received thus far, and the best part is that you can get your hands on it for free, or a name your own price, over at their Bandcamp page. Be sure to support them if you like what you hear!

Digital Download Provided by: Kevlar Skin

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