Back at the turn of the new millennium, give or take a year or so, Kerrang! was an actual relevant thing to me musically. It sometimes gave compilation CD’s and actually provided some decent features and helped widen my growing musical horizons and tastes. This little titbit is rather relevant as it helped introduce me to the more extreme sides of metal – a feature on Emperor’s last studio offering at the time (Prometheus), a feature of Nile before I realised how boring they could be, and a track on a free CD by a Polish band called Decapitated who happened to be a year or two older than I was. Now, memory lane ramblings aside, this relevance links into the fact that Twinge are a young, energetic, groove laden death metal band much like fellow countrymen Decapitated are, which is quite a huge shadow to be in and some pretty massive footsteps to follow.
Now of course you can go on about the whole finding your own sound and so on/etc/blah nonsense, but currently there are three massive names in Polish metal who are funnily enough, all death metal rooted. The legendary Vader, the massively (over)hyped Behemoth and the previously touched on Decapitated. To have those three bands as someone you would be compared to or held up against quite frankly must be a bit shit, but hey, you make do with what you have available right?
“Enslaved By Human Mind” is a release which tries to do that. Using a varied mix of sounds and approaches, blending some thrash metal, death metal, metalcore and even hints of filthy Death’n’roll, the band does have a somewhat identifiable and unique sonic signature, but it’s all over the place. Variety is good and all, but some flow or natural rhythm is required to actually get things moving and attention holding. Aside from the pointless instrumental fillers present in the release, there’s little to get excited about. “Twinge” has a rather sterile heavy sound to it which can’t quite settle on djentish metalcore or polyrhythmic death metal. Vocally, it’s rather solid, just musically it doesn’t seem to hold that much of an impact.
“Bleeding Ears” has a much more aggressive death metal feel to it, bringing along the filthy sound with a fast paced kick to it. Hard hitting vocal roars, windmill headbang friendly rhythms and buzzing guitars bring up the feel of Entombed, Sepultura and Decapitated jamming together to make some heavy and dirty noise. “Dynastia” has some real intense vocals which are spat out at a rather intimidating pace. Musically it’s just straight up death metal but the vocal speed and gratuitous blasts of the drums make it a bit more than what it actually is… A neat trick indeed! “Enslaved” has a real wicked low end kick to it, especially with the bass delivery and guitar tone whilst “This Is Not Our War” has shades of post ‘Come Clarity’ In Flames (2006 to present era).
“Enslaved By Human Mind” does have some good moments, but other than that there isn’t much remarkable about it. Musically it could be a lot tighter, hold a little more flow to it and consistency instead of its more unsettled pacing. The jumps from aggressive groove laden death metal to clunky and forced breakdowns doesn’t quite work, nor do the overly forced genre-bombs like the deathcore/metalcore moments or the pseudo-djent like tones. Twinge have the right ideas, the enthusiasm and the drive, they just need the time to settle their sound, lock it down where it needs to be and to restrain it where needed… Neaten things up basically. It’s a good effort, but a rather rushed end result overall.