A well refined gem of Modern Metal

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Cruentus - Terminal Code [Full-length]
June 1, 2010 - unsigned
9
9

So there it is, the long awaited second full length record of the Polish Cyber Metal formation Cruentus. Having changed their Black Metal rooted sound into a more and more industrialized mechanoid style since their first effort, "Event Horizon", this process has now reached its first peak.

Massive complex grooves, professionally integrated and very well timed synths and flexible vocals that don't lose balls in the clean sections now define the band's style. There are also some very well crafted elctronic intermissions to be found. They sound like there really went work and thought into them, which sets things apart from those often used generic ambient interludes.

The overall atmosphere is very consistent while every song has something on its own. It's like a subtile shift of focus. Some are more on the Meshuggah-side, then there's some heavy Fear Factory-influence, then a bit Death Metal flashes out, just to make way to an extensive Textures-like clean section. And all this without losing any distinctive style or really sounding like other bands.
As I listen to this style of music a lot, "Terminal Code" feels almost like a hybrid to me, that actually compiles the trademarks of Meshuggah, Fear Factory, Textures, Sybreed, Mnemic, and the like, into something that doesn't sound totally different but has its own distinct flavour and atmosphere.
That's a plus in my book if it's done as well as it is here but, of course, it could make way to those people who like to rant about music that doesn't offer completely new elements or concepts.
Similar point concerning the riffing. I personally love low tuned rhythm-focussed riffing but it also gets a bit monotonous from time to time. I recognized few sections that just won't stick in my head. On the other hand, I wouldn't want this piece of metal less machine-like, considering it delivers this theme so well. Also the variations in speed, rhythm and song-structures help to get the attention up again every time, so that's not really a problem.

Production and sequencing are very well done, as far as I can judge. All instruments are distinguishable, the low ends seem pretty detailed to me, which is important for this style of music.
The heavier and the lighter sections and the more electronic parts are evenly spread about the album, which gives it a good flow. Though it sometimes seemed to me that the flow is almost a bit too perfect as if there's some dramatic arc missing that makes every song a part of a progression throughout the whole album.
What holds the album together at every point though, also lyrics-wise, is the omnipresent concept of mathematization of nature, society and human beings, inspired by today's financial markets as well as the odd but fascinating Physics-infused technical universes of authors like Stanislav Lem (of whom there are also some citations to be found).
The sometimes cryptic but meaningful lyrics combined with the calculated riffs and drums, the cold synths and the aggressive but somehow technoid and cold vocals make this concept pour out of every note of this album.

Summed up I'd say: "Terminal Code" is a fresh and extremely entertaining piece of Modern Extreme Metal with a strong technical flavour and notably professional electronics that doesn't stray too far from the standards and structures set by its genre-collegues at the same time offering a distinctive enough style to stand on its own. Coupled with great production values, the album can easily compete with those collegues wihtout having to fear the competition.