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You should all know by now that Believer split up some years ago and reformed quite recently. Reformations are of course in vogue right now with the great (Cynic), the not-so-great (Death Angel), and the ones frankly in denial (Pestilence). So, with the release of 'Gabriel', where do Believer fit in? I'm afraid, they're lumbered in the dusty file called 'not convinced just yet'. To be fair, I was only a fan of 'Sanity Obscure', and even that had its flaws. 'Dimensions' passed me by entirely, and I have a passing knowledge of their debut. However, on 'Gabriel', it is the mid-paced chuggers, rather than the technical jaunts, where Believer really shines. The main areas of concern are the bizarre use of samples and electronics. I'm not against those elements per se, but these are not fantastic examples and seem somewhat shoe-horned in to add depth and variety when, really, it's not needed. Joey Daub's drumming is, once again, up there with the best of the current technical bashers. Kurt's voice too has improved with age, adding controlled venom and impassioned rage. Being a band synonymous with technical thrash, it's curious it is these areas that seem forced and unnatural. Had Believer concentrated on their updated mid-paced thrashing, I might have gotten more enjoyment from this. Certainly, in a musical world chock-full of technical thrash, it seems a shame that one of its founding fathers are struggling to keep up in the songwriting stakes. Finally, it's left to the production of 'The Trauma Team' to muddy it all up. Sure, the guitars are chugging, but there's a distinct bassiness to the whole affair that really roots it in the past. However, 'Gabriel' marks the welcome return of Believer, and I hope that they can summon up some natural creativity for a follow-up sometime soon. For now, this is a curious listen that will confound as much as delight. I, for one, will continue to absorb the songs over the coming months, but I'm afraid it's destined not to be a classic. A pity.
Metal Blade Records
Review by Steve Cowan
14th April 2009
1) Medwton
2) A Moment In Prime
3) Stoned
4) Redshift
5) History Of Decline
6) The Need For Conflict
7) Focused Lethality
8) Shut Out The Sun
9) The Brave
10) Nonsense Meditated Decay
11) Untitled Bonus Track
"Being a band synonymous with technical thrash, it's curious it is these areas that seem forced and unnatural."