Wisconsin-based purveyors of Progessive/Technical Death Metal, Aronious, have released their second full-length, “Perspicacity“. Perspicacity is a word you don’t often hear. I don’t think I’ve heard it since Lisa Simpson used it in a fit of frustration. Anyway, before I begin reviewing the album I want to say that it’s very, very clear that these guys are proficient at their instruments. Also, at nearly an hour long, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with “Perspicacity“. But, therein lies the rub. For me, 58+ mins of Tech DM is a bit of a chore to get through. To explain, a problem I have with a good chunk of Tech DM is that it’s often hard to differentiate one song from the next (i.e., they blur into each other and there are few, if any, standout tracks). On “Perspicacity“, this issue is compounded by musically tying songs together.
Anyway, the Intro to Part 1 of the title track is a softer guitar affair that flows seamlessly into Aronious‘s brand of Tech DM, and the riffs here are mint. Don’t expect verse/chorus song structures on “Perspicacity“, because this shit is all over the place. “An Assembled Reality” is a nice example, and nicely blends heavy riffs with manic lead work. Other parts of this album (“A Grim Fate“, for example) reminded me of Dream Theater. That’s a compliment by the way.
I’m going to say it: I’m not a fan of instrumentals, particularly in Metal. To me, they’re little more than a chance for the musicians, typically guitarists, to jerk off. The two-part instrumental here is exactly that in that it doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose (e.g., it doesn’t add to the album’s atmosphere). And, given the album is 13 songs long, the instrumental(s) should’ve been culled. Also, I’m fucked if I can figure out why this piece was broken up into two sections. The band probably have some well-thought-out reasons but, to me, it seems nonsensical.
The vocals are, as the French would say, scheisse. Wait! That’s German. The vocals are, as the German’s would say, merde. Ah fuck! They’re not really that bad, I just wanted to use that joke. But, they do lean towards the Deathcore style, and as a BM/DM guy I just can’t get into that vocal style. What did stick out to me was a tendency, on the part of the vocalist, to always be ‘on the beat’. What I mean by this is that, if a riff is in 4/4, the vocalist often hits the first beat of each bar and less often hits the 2s, 3s, or even the “and” of each beat. It may seem like I’m picking on him, but that’s not my intention. When reviewing an album, some things just stick out and that was noticeable to me.
Anyway, this is a solid release by expert musicians. However, I find it hard listening to an hour of flailing guitar work. Maybe it’s just me?
Rating – 3.5 / 5