Published Feb 14, 2019Quebec churns out great death metal bands the way Rudy Giuliani produces on-air gaffes. Look away for two seconds and a few more are likely to pop up. Between Kataklysm, Cryptopsy, Blasphemy, Ion Dissonance, Despised Icon and Beneath the Massacre, it's amazing the scene hasn't slipped into redundancy yet. But then, just when you've heard everyone, Backstabber release Conspiracy Theorist. Fast, frantic, politically minded and heavy, it's just the thing for jaded fans to sink their teeth into.
On the scale of death metal styles, Backstabber fall right in the middle. There's a bit of melody and a bit of technicality, but not enough to put them in either camp. Being only a three-piece, they don't have much room to manoeuvre. Still, they throw every bit of their hearts and souls into "No Privacy" and "My Disclosure," sounding like Job For A Cowboy and Kill-era Cannibal Corpse. Conspiracy Theorist is very much a death metal record of the later aughts, when the genre was experiencing a revival of interest before fringe cuts and breakdowns muddied things up.
Therein lies the problem. While tracks like "Geo Engineering," "Whistle Blower" and "Ink Spill" provide good mosh fodder for the local diehards, there isn't enough of a spark to separate Conspiracy Theorist from the last 15 years of similar content. Backstabber are on the right track ("The Hum" is a nice proggy touch), but if they want to be compared to the best of Quebec, they'll have to work on their individuality. (Independent)