Australia, Earache Records, Industrial Deathgrind.
I’ve always had an affinity for Industrial music. I’ve found that the genre’s bleak, nihilistic intensity has created plenty of classics in it’s own right (:Wumpscut: anyone?) yet the genuine merge of industrial and metal music tickles my fancy even more. Nailbomb, Godflesh, Meathook Seed, Red Harvest, And Christ Wept, Christdriver, classic Ministry; these are all results of the fusion that prove it takes subtlety, an understanding of atmosphere and actual musical ability to create it properly. The Berzerker is a band that many correctly identify as one of the best fusions of Industrial and Extreme Metal yet conceived. However, unlike say Red Harvest or And Christ Wept, The Berzerker’s work focused less on building an atmosphere unforgiving enough to choke on and more on absolute precision, speed and break neck intensity. Describing their discography and indeed this album as ‘cybergrind’ would not be inaccurate. Absent of any electronic influence, The Berzerker’s music is at heart voracious deathgrind. The paradox of ‘Dissimulate’ is that while the album is unbelievably technical (Gary Thomas; you magnificent bastard, I read your BOOK!) the atmosphere of other classic Industrial/Metal fusions isn’t present. It simply wouldn’t be possible given the sheer velocity of The Berzerker’s compositions and yet I consider atmosphere an essential characteristic of a classic Industrial Metal band. Consider for a moment Nailbomb’s ‘Point Blank’. Even when taking into account the harshness of say ‘Vai Toma No Cù’, there’s a palpable feeling of uprising and rebellion. There is no such feeling on ‘Dissimulate’.
That isn’t to say that this is a poor album; far from it. In fact, I commend The Berzerker for taking the idea of Industrial meets Metal music in a direction that to this day no one has matched. The instrumental work on display here is downright unbelievable, Luke Kenny and Sam Bean’s shrieks and growls are punishing and the structural work put into each song from the samples to the dual drum machine assault (from both a ‘human’ and machine) demonstrates why no one has come close to replicating this kind of Industrial combination. That being said, this release isn’t without its problems. The lack of a commonly understood Industrial Metal atmosphere is a concern lingering above the head of this release for sure, but I’ve also noticed a tendency for certain songs to stick with a less than satisfactory idea for a bit too long (the guitar riff from 0:22 – 0:42 of ‘Last Mistake’) and other songs not lasting long enough. (No One Wins, the best track on this album in my opinion)
In conclusion, I would certainly recommend ‘Dissimulate’ as The Berzerker’s quintessential album, an imperfect testament to the power of definitively combining two things most people would completely screw up. This album doesn’t relent, but it lacks the sensation of other Industrial Metal. The instrumental prowess is impeccable (especially the drumming) yet some of the less interesting sections continue for much longer than they should while the best song on the album is too short. The skill required to compose such an album practically oozes off of the music and yet The Berzerker are the only conceivable band that could make ideas of this nature work. I recommend this album as a piece of metal history that will never be seen again. Weird, wild stuff.