Believer - Gabriel
Metal Blade
Progressive Tech-Thrash
10 songs (54:58)
Release year: 2009
Believer, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat

Splitting after the release of the excellent Dimensions in 1993, little was heard from Believer until the announcement in January of this year that they’d signed to Metal Blade and were due to release album number four, sixteen years since their last full-length, with a new line-up. Frankly, after so long the chances of Gabriel being anything decent were questionable, yet Believer have clearly spent the time away doing nothing but honing at their skills, and whilst this isn’t the Classically-enhanced Avant-Garde Thrash of Dimensions, it is a damn good album in its own right.

Electronic effects replace the classical parts in general, but all are well-placed and enhance the tracks spectacularly, opener Medtwon’s atmospherics especially working well with the general Meshuggah-meets-Voivod technicality of the Thrash parts. It’s amazing just how good it is, really, the riffs sharp-edged and pounding, the soloing stellar, and the song so well put-together than its seven-minutes-plus running time seems but half that. After that, the album flows perfectly, with nary a weak moment to be found, enjoyably skipping through the ominous Moment In Prime, with its technical percussive intro (Joey Daub’s work throughout is excellent) and Jazzy section towards the end. Stoned is a Gojira-esque groove monster that twists and turns all over the place, Redshift takes steps towards the Industrial with greater electronic elements before going all lounge-Jazz on you halfway through, and the focused lethality of Focused Lethality is equally as good.

As ever, Bachman’s vocals are something of an acquired taste, but are far from dreadful, and his skill at breaking out the killer riffs should be more than enough to make up for anyone who really can’t enjoy him. Some may also have a problem with the slightly more 90s styled groove of Shut Out The Sun, but it’s still a great song. Killswitch Engage’s Howard Jones makes an is-that-really-him? appearance on The Brave, a more experimental piece with lots of time changes and different riffs, but the strangest track is the last one, Nonsense Mediated Decay, starting with a man speaking about his UFO experience before a droning guitar melody and beatboxing, male and female vocals, bleeps, piano and all manner of uncanny noises to form an avant-garde finale that never quite makes sense but which closes the album in typically impenetrableness, true Believer-style.

Although Gabriel is pretty unvaried in its songwriting, with one Tech-Thrash whirlwind following another, the changes between tracks are enough to keep them interesting and it’s enjoyable to listen to all the way through. Anyone who enjoys leftfield Thrash in general will have no problem loving this; a fine addition to the Believer catalogue and worthy of any Metalhead’s attention.

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Killing Songs :
Medtwon, Stoned, Focused Lethality, The Brave
Goat quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Believer that we have reviewed:
Believer - Dimensions reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Believer - Sanity Obscure reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Believer - Extraction From Mortality reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
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