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Review: Frantic Bleep - The Sense Apparatus
Frantic Bleep
The Sense Apparatus

Label: The End Records
Year released: 2005
Duration: 41:31
Tracks: 9
Genre: Progressive Metal


Review online: March 8, 2005
Reviewed by: Chaossphere
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 2.67/5 (53.33%) (3 Votes)

Ever witnessed an actual schizophrenic in action? It can be rather, well, interesting. Now, imagine that schizo's bizarre mood swings and personality changes made sound and compressed into 41 minutes of music, and you have Frantic Bleep's debut album. This one started out rather promising - an intro which actually consists of music, that being a neat buildup of guitars and varied vocals, leads into a doomy track very reminiscent of My Dying Bride. In fact, the vocalist here very frequently echoes Aaron Stainthorpe, as well as reminding me of a whiny gothic sap, a pissed off gremlin and, well, a normal singer. All seems to depend what mood he's in when he writes a particular segment of song.. oh wait, where was I? The second track, that's right, incidentally the layout of this CD is really odd, anyway this song starts out quite heavy and technical, then suddenly drops into a ridiculous passage consisting of fluttery guitar textures and whiny vocals. It's rather disconcerting really, excuse me while I scratch my balls, to find the flow of the whole thing disrupted by boring anomalies which serve no apparent purpose other than to make the musicians sound more "open minded" than they would be if they simply played good, ear-bending riffs over tight, choppy drumming, like they do for most of the CD.

I guess by now that those of you with a level of perceptive above that of an amoeba will have garnered that I'm trying to make a point. Most of this disc makes sense - it's technical without being overly wanky (for what it's worth, this puts Spiral Architect to shame simply by virtue of actually containing songs, rather than extended passes of pointless instrumental masturbation), melodic enough to catch the ear without sinking to the level of flower-prog, and contains enough twists and turns to keep the listener on their toes. Other highlights include the oddly-titled "Mandaughter" which manages to keep itself together enough to be quite epic, and most of the last track "Cone" which is a brooding, doom-laden dirge and maintains a well-crafted sense of melancholy without slipping into leaden boredom.

By sheer musical merit alone it deserves a 3.5 (remember that my preferences lean towards skull-splintering violence and/or blood-freezing evil atmosphere, so that's high praise coming from an aggression-junkie), but unfortunately it loses half a point for the interjection of those incredibly annoying little moments where the music loses all direction and starts sounding like Radiohead without drums. Hopefully for their next release, Frantic Bleep will realize that they're better off dazzling their audience with their chops and metal power rather than abruptly trying to lull them to sleep for no good reason. Then again, they did name themselves Frantic Bleep, so I'm still not 100% convinced of their soundness of mind.

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