Believer Gabriel

Believer Gabriel
Along with Atheist, Cynic and Death, Pennsylvania's Believer led the American progressive metal charge in the early '90s. After three albums, including their 1993 masterpiece, Dimensions, the band were virtually forgotten, as founding guitarist/vocalist Kurt Bachman and drummer Joey Daub pursued other projects. Reuniting 15 years later with their strongest line-up yet, Believer releases Gabriel, an album even more manic and brutal than their back catalogue. Seemingly unscarred by the ravages of time, Bachman's sneering caterwaul sounds direly urgent and his Cynic/Pestilence-like guitar progressions shine through in "Medwton," "A Moment in Prime" and "Stoned." He switches to Molly McGuire-esque murmurs amid sustained growls in the Candiria-like "Redshift." The galloping chords of "Focused Lethality" put new Metallica to shame and "History of Decline" is straight-up thrash with oddball keys and quirky samples. "The Brave" is the only song that doesn't seem to fit here, mostly due to the melodic vocals of Killswitch Engage's Howard Jones. Closing track "Nonsense Mediated Decay" and its three untitled companions offer spliced outtakes, random riffs and garbled stories about UFO sightings, nailing the true Believer aesthetic from the get-go. Like its namesake angel, Gabriel is a messenger from the prog-metal gods that Believer are back with the heaviest album of their career. (Metal Blade)