Séance - _Awakening of the Gods_
(Pulverized Records, 2009)
by: Colleen Burton (3 out of 10)
With an album name that surely conveys their humility, Séance are out of retirement with an amalgamation of various death styles that comes off as generally unimpressive. "Wasted" immediately leaves a poor impression on the mind, demonstrating an ineffective song structure with cymbals crashing through every conceivable silence and effects layered so thick upon the vocals that the final result is ludicrous and watered-down. Nor does the music seem to make a cohesive unit with the vocals, and comes across as quite spastic, suddenly repeating earlier bits when the song was just progressing to a better stage. Their irksome breakdowns are overly simplistic after the more complicated verses preceding them. Downtempo offerings like "They" offer less to impress, sometimes inserting nice but short-lived guitar solos and never really offering anything terribly innovative. These tracks aren't exactly bad, they just wash over you without leaving an impression, particularly when the moments most easy to latch onto are the repetitive riffs in "Murder" and "Burn Me". "Your Time Has Come" may be onto something and sounds most like any sort of recognizable technical style. Songs like this cannot, however, redeem an album that seems confused; well-done yet not dynamic. Pretty good riffing only crops up from time to time in tracks like "Murder" and "Burn Me".

Discussing their approach leaves some room for dissent: it's difficult to flatly label them old-schoolers when they play much faster and more technically, and under sharp production that doesn't contribute to a dark and sinister sound. They're not quite technical death (no, not even after the wankery of "Flight of the Wicked") and not quite brutal metal. Séance favour the blast beats and frantic, thrashy elements of groups like Vader spliced together with the crazed vocals and technical elements of Pestilence, but unfortunately for them, these older bands still reign supreme in their department, having a more accessible modus operandi.

Though possessed of an acclaimed past, Séance hold little sway over the contemporary listener. Séance is just a bit easy to shrug off when you compare them alongside Swedes like Vomitory and Dismember; _Awakening of the Gods_ will leave many listeners rolling their eyes at its formulaic and predictable composition.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/seanceseance

(article published 5/7/2009)

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