Séance
"Awakening of the Gods"

(Pulverised Records 2009)Séance - Awakening of the Gods

Have you ever wondered, when a band returns after a 10-year absence, what they were doing in the interim? Working at the local post office? Honing their craft while subsisting on only ramen noodles? Circumnavigating the globe in a homemade balloon? Chances are you haven't wondered any of that, because chances are you haven't given a damn. That's exactly the case with way-back-when death metallers Séance. They released a few albums culminating with 1993's critically slobbered-over but generally ignored "Saltrubbed Eyes," putzed around for 5 more years, officially disbanded, and were largely forgotten. Well, now the band has stormed out of Where Are They Now land, to drop "Awakening of the Gods" on an unsuspecting metal populace. The implication of the title should not go unnoticed.

Much as Séance would like to paint their comeback as an evil deity rising from a long slumber, that just isn't the case. More like an irate fire imp coming out of a refreshing power nap. And that little bugger must have fell asleep with a bunch of thrash albums playing on repeat, because there is a ton of it going down on "Awakening of the Gods." The album is built on wave after wave of lacerating, technical guitar riffs. Many of the songs have a highly robotic quality about them, with every individual piece perfectly placed for maximum impact. The production only adds to the mechanized feel of the album; while ultra crisp and technically spot-on, there isn't any room for the music to breathe.

"Awakening of the Gods" is an experiment in Séance trying to figure out what they should sound like in 2009. There's the sense that they're trying to build a machine with very exacting tolerances, but some of their measurements were a bit off. Slipped gears aside, this is still an extremely solid release; here's a band that knows to write good tunes, and perform the hell out of them. As long as it doesn't take another decade and a half to come out, Séance's next album is sure to be their true return to form.

B

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