Hope for the Dying Dissimulation

This record isn't so much a tapestry of creative bursts influenced by the band's idols as it is an embroidery of everything they like and desire to be. In doing so there's no character to be found, no heart. Musically it's the aural equivalent of being stuck in a fantasy computer game with Yngwie Malmsteen solos stabbing you from all directions and the only way out is to press stop, as there's no reprieve from the speedy, symphonic geek metal onslaught. You get moments of Necrophagist, but even less menacing, and gentle, Opeth-like passages, without the gloom pop up to calm things down. This is channelled through a symphonic metal filter and glossed over by later day Dimmu Borgir/Cradle of Filth pompousness, all the while the by-the-number metalcore vocals try their darndest to relate to the moshers. Images of Dragonforce playing with flat brims are hard to fight off. Dissimulation is grand, impressive, complex and tight, but it's also boring, contrived and over-cooked. It's a cause for alarm when one is halfway through an album and comparisons to other more established bands come at you so fast and often that it's hard to concentrate on the work at hand. That said, don't write Hope for the Dying off completely, as there's still hope. "Transcend" is somewhat enjoyable, demonstrating control and nods to Master of Puppets, Cynic and In Flames' Jester Race; it's a glorious blend that lasts a little over two minutes. (Facedown)