Sunday, June 13, 2010

Special K

Over the last couple of days I've come to the conclusion that Biomechanical could be the best metal band of the genre. I don't even love them or can tolerate extended listens but every single contributed element to the music is so refined and over qualified that to deny the power of the band is stupid. 
Actually, I totally love them.

If you read anything about the history of the band you'll quickly learn that Biomechanical is a one man show. That said, I can't figure out what the hell that means based on the bio. John K is the guy. He wrote, engineered and recorded the entire first record and from what I can tell he has continued to write and arrange the two subsequent follow-up releases. Are the drums programmed? Does he compose the guitar riffs? A live lineup does exist of the band but still, HOW DOES THIS ALL HAPPEN?
I imagine his song-writing process plays out something like this (but in Greek, so randomly add a good 'aikos' here and 'flubopoulous' there):
"Alrighty, let's start this out with this progressive guitar riff. That'll continue for about 3.78 bars, then i'll arbitrarily stop the riff, change the time signature, add about, uh, 3 shots? No wait, let's make that 5. Then i'll add a big held note for the stringed instruments while I scream myself into an inferno. Perfect, now to just cram all of that into my John Williams endorsed garburator and voilaflubopoulous!"

Everything about this band is 100% legitimate. The musicianship is completely gourmet, the riffs are snaky, progressive and tense. The leads are a stunning Wyldesteen combination of hyper-picked shred, frantic sweeping, and a tasty wide vibrato. The drumming almost doesn't even make sense. And on top of all that are John K's vocals. 
One of the more irritating aspects of newer metal is its tendency to be over-polished. In an effort to sound too clean most recordings end up losing an edge that I crave. What's great about Biomechanical is how that edge is constant. That's not to say the band is rough around the edges, far from it, but everything is so densely layered and pushed beyond its limits that an overall crunch comes through. 
This is especially the case with the vocal element. John K can wail. I'm talking WAIL. This guy has some SERIOUS Halford-esque skills. Like Devin Townsend without tongue wedged firmly in cheek; also capable of adding shredding lows to the screaching highs. K sings like this cause he can and understands how to create music that is mutually complimentary without a single lick of irony. I'd go so far as to say that they're some of the best vocals of the type I've ever heard. They're Cowboys From Hell vintage but with way more power and versatility. It's just all so aggressive.  

Well, not all of it. 
Like it or not the band is dynamic because tossed in between some of the most frenetic music I've ever heard are some seriously Skid Row worthy ballads (if you don't think that's a good thing go read another...something). That is of course if Skid Row scored their ballads to the Indiana Jones trilogy. 

I started listening to the band about 4 years ago and maybe it's just a lack of releases I've pursued lately that's rekindled my interested. Either way I haven't been able to get enough. There are some serious Pantera'd moments taken twenty steps beyond into some seemingly impossible territories. 
It should also be noted that John K is the only consistent member of the band. I can't help but feel as though if you're a potential member and you display any sense of confusion when he shows one of his nonsense arrangement ideas to you, you're either no longer an option, or you're kicked out of the band (not one member remained between the 2nd and 3rd records). Not that it matters as he's still somehow capable of finding guitar players with hummingbirds for picking hands and drummers with 12 limbs. 

It seems as though few have heard of the band which may be due to their lack of North American touring, but K doesn't hide the bands critical success. As seen on the bands myspace, he has reason to boast with 19 perfect score reviews for the bands last two releases and most of the rest being 9's of 10 (there are over 50 reviews listed with only 3 having a score less than 90%).
Cannibalised was released just over 2 years ago and I can't find any information regarding a follow up. I hope there is one, and I hope it's on the way. 

Below is the title track from 2008's Cannibalised. If you start it and have any interest in the audio equivalent of being at the center of a thousand cheetahs racing in a phone booth, don't press stop.
It's completely unpredictable and showcases everything that makes the Biomechanical experience so nerve-wracking, something admirably summed up in the allmusic review stating that "ultimately, Cannibalised's love/hate quotient greatly depends on the listener's ability to see through the aural overkill, and into Biomechanical's not inconsiderable songwriting sophistication."
Give 6 minutes of your life to this, because even if you hate everything about it, it'll give you an idea of what some people are capable of. If you're not really familiar with this kind of music there is little doubt it will sound like a wall of chaotic noise, but make no mistake that while I understand what's involved in the execution of this material, take comfort in the fact that it sounds like a wall of chaotic noise to me as well. 
Things really start to ramp up at the 3:50 mark.