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02. Obedience Through Desecration
03. The God I Would Be
04. Necessary Bloodshed
05. To The Church
06. Return To Dust
07. His Chosen Fate
08. The Stagnate
10. The Serpent's Letter
11. Hell Blaze
12. Ignoring The Conditional Response
Reviewed by: Cory
// Published: 4/27/2005
Usually a new release from Victory Records seems like little more than an opportunity to rant about the heyday of hardcore that the label helped usher in a decade ago. For some reason though, I actually went out of my way to acquire the latest effort from Sinai Beach. I had heard good things about this band from a few different directions and within the first few tracks of Immersed, I was more than a bit impressed.
My immediate reaction was to literally say to myself out loud "This sounds like Pantera!" In fact, most of the influences Sinai Beach seems to draw upon are refreshingly, well, American. There's healthy doses of Pantera and Life of Agony in there (courtesy of Courtney Alderson's Keith Caputo/Danzig-esque melody lines) alongside dashes of classic thrash. Layer this all over drums that invoke the intensity (but certainly not the complexity) of Meshuggah and you would have the blueprint for Sinai Beach's sound. OK, so Meshuggah definitely isn't American, but my point was that I was surprised to hear an American heavy metal band not obsessed with Swedish guitar licks and spastic time signature changes.
While it's certainly true that Sinai Beach isn't anywhere near as good as any of the legends I've mentioned, their lofty aspirations have paid off. Immersed was one of the first records of this sort that I've heard recently that actually offered something different. Not just in the style, but in the band's ability to keep the listener guessing. As most metal albums progress, one can usually deduce what they're in for on the next track. Sinai Beach shows off their range in the progress of Immersed's twelve tracks, and despite a few misguided electronic potholes, the record comes off as a varied yet cohesive whole.
The biggest potential problem with this record are the vocals. Every growl and snarl is spot on, but some of the melodic parts, in addition to being shaky, just aren't well-written melodies. As a result, Alderson's interesting vocal style often becomes an unwelcome addition to an otherwise great song. I honestly like what they're trying to do here, I just don't think they always pull it off.
Bottom Line: I'm not really sure what it was that made me want to give this record a listen, but I'm certainly glad I did. While it's probably not going to end up on my year-end top ten, it's already found its way into my steady rotation. The key is that this record is great, well-produced heavy metal that is fun to listen to time and time again. There's undoubtedly room for improvement, but Immersed is better than the output of many much more established underground metal bands.
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