Let me start by saying that I don’t think there’s an article opening I hate seeing more than the phrase “The dictionary defines.” But when you’re reviewing an album, decide to throw the band’s name through Google to gain some insight into how they chose to define themselves, and discover a near perfect description of their music, it’s too hard to just let it go.

Abiotic’s debut record, Symbiosis, indeed sounds completely devoid of life and sterile. I mean that in the best possible way; what Abiotic has done here is create an album that sounds completely overproduced, unnecessarily technical, and obviously trendy, but without sounding particularly uninspired or generic. Anyone who heard leadoff bombshell “Vermosapien” when it hit the net earlier this year should know exactly what I mean. Personally, when I first heard that track, I was confused by how excited I was to hear more from Abiotic. I’ve heard too many terrible progressive deathcore bands to really care about the genre anymore, but something about Alex Vasquez’s bass solos, the tastefully melodic guitar licks, and the frenzied vocals sprinkled throughout that song intrigued me.

It turns out that if you found yourself inexplicably digging “Vermosapien” as I did, the entirety of Symbiosis is going to deliver exactly what you want from these guys. The guitars and vocals are front and center for the majority of the record, except for when that disgustingly smooth bass makes an appearance to remind you just how much value a quality groove can add to a ridiculously heavy song. On tracks like “A Universal Plague,” guitarists Johnathan Matos and Matt Mendez take the opportunity to lock on to the bass and chill the tempo briefly without falling into the nasty habit of abandoning coherent transitions altogether. All the while, vocalist Ray Jimenez puts on a harsh vocal clinic, covering every technique known to man with virtuosic intensity; if you’re still holding onto the grudge against “pig squeal” vocals that we all maintained back in 2005, you’re going to hit some rough spots on Symbiosis.

Given the huge amount of praise I’m giving to the other band members’ individual perfromances, it’s unfortunate that all I can come up with to say about Andres Hurtado’s drumming on the album is that it seems to be sufficiently technical. In Hurtado’s defense, he clearly pulled the short straw when it came time to the album’s mix, and I’m sure it’s nearly impossible to add any kind of personal flair at these speeds.

But as I hinted before, this mix works, and the  production sounds immaculate; every note played and every unique tone used on the record comes through your speakers with perfect clarity and an overall vibrant quality.

I find it extremely difficult to summarize this album, but surprisingly, the word I keep coming back to is “warm.” Despite all the robotic tendencies present on the record, I can’t shake the feeling that the passion these guys feel for what they do goes well beyond that of similarly technical metal acts. Maybe it’s just me, but the lengthy solo section near the end of closing track “The Graze of Locusts” sounds like a few guys trying to release their fervor in the best way they know how, instead of some truly stellar instrumentalists merely pushing their bodies to the limit. In Symbiosis, I know that many people will find nothing more than yet another competent progressive deathcore record — but Abiotic definitely has the tools and musical intuition needed to join the very best bands the genre has to offer.

Abiotic’s Symbiosis comes out October 23 on Metal Blade. You can stream the track  “Hegira” here, and pre-order the album here.ABIOTIC’S SYMBIOSIS SOUNDS REALLY… ABIOTIC

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