REVIEW: THE BROWNING – “Geist”
I have to admit that I never heard of The Browning until I got my hands on their newest offering ‘Geist’. I think that missing out on The Browning till now was pretty stupid on my end because damn, it isn’t the norm for bands to be mind blowing at the first listen. I’m all up for electro and synth fusion with heavy and extreme metal, but well it isn’t hard to sound generic in such cases. The Browning is far from being generic with ‘Geist’. The band shows a solid sense of direction with their newest album. Heavy industrial influences coupled with riff rich extreme metal and mind blowing electronic sections is pretty hard is a pretty sweet deal.
The album opens up with “Sick Minds” and almost immediately the potential for brilliance hits you. It is a great opener and a sick track to say the least. “Beyond Stone” is a straight up in your face song. By this point, song writing and composition directions become very clear. The exchanges between riff laden runs break downs and synth sections that generously and cleverly fill in the empty gaps in the music seems to be the band’s modus operandi with regard to composition. It seems alright because it works out pretty well. It sounds great! “Final Breath”, “Everlost”, and “Optophobia” bring out this style of song writing with good clarity and distinction. Synth openings in the music add to the tension in the music not only in terms of tonality but even rhythmically. As the album progresses, the break downs get much more aggressive and brutal. “Awaken the Omega” is a soft and a relatively easy going song off the album. The vocals on this one lays a greater emphasis on clean singing.
“Hellblade” opens up with a break down section very reminiscent of metalcore hey days but only so much better now. The song is pretty decent but repetitive for the most part and ends well. The title track “Geist” is groovy and menacing and for reason reminds me a little bit of Samael’s music. The electro sections on this track isn’t as outlandish as on rest of the album. Traditional elements of extreme metal comes in the limelight on this one. “Amnesia” is a real groovy banger and qualifies as a dance number. Bonus points if dancing included endless headbanging for this one. The album closes with “Skybreaker”. This song comes with a tasty hook and lovely vocal sections that are both clean and harsh. This song is stands out from rest of the album. It’s a fine end to the album.
All in all, ‘Geist’ by The Browning is a good record. The album is mind blowing in some of its nuances. The quality of production and the mix does full justice to the electro-metal fusion by the band. The downside of the album are its repetitive parts. One way of looking at these repetitive parts is that the music becomes a tad catchier and quickly familiarizes itself with its listeners. Well this isn’t the case with ‘Geist’. The repetitive parts as a theme becomes recurring throughout the album and the album gets a little too predictable in its arrangements. It’s the composition, playing, singing and the overall production that finally become a saving grace for what was otherwise a great record.
The album did shy away in parts from going all out extreme and hardcore with the electro and synth sections. On the contrary, the metal sections remained unapologetically extreme and face melting. Electronic and metal extremities would have been a beautiful synthesis because extremities in music can go way beyond being complimentary sections. Nevertheless, there’s no reason to miss out on ‘Geist’ by The Browning.