Illogicist – Subjected Review

Illogicist – Subjected
Crash Music, 2004
For fans of: Death, more evil Mudvayne, less meandering Meshuggah

Remy Curtaz: Drums
Luca Minieri: Guitars/Vocals
Diego Ambrosi: Guitars
Emilio Dattolo: Bass

1. Into Your Mind (Intro)
2. The High Price of Confidence
3. Knowledge Curse
4. Every Straight Lie
5. Dissonant Perspectives
6. Subjected
7. Introspection (Instrumental)
8. The Soul Feeder
9. The Last Show

Cavorting around Italy for several years now, Illogicist have finally come together for a full debut album release, complete with a US distribution deal. Has this solidified their lineup? Not hardly, as the original drummer has already been replaced with newcomer Sergio Ponti just since the album was recorded. However, after one hears Subjected, one can only hope they keep it together and stick around for some time.

While the album cover appears more Cannibal Corpse than Dream Theater, Illogicist is most certainly replete with progressive tendencies to couple their death sound. In fact, “death” is a word that all too often comes up while discussing this band; for those familiar with the world of technical metal, one can tell you that Death is at the top of the list, and Illogicist certainly played straight from their heroes. At times this may come off as derivative, but the band manages to mix in a plethora of other sounds and ideas to separate them from the vast sea of similar sounding bands.

Point one being the bass on this album. An easily overlooked element of many of today’s bands, it’s apparent Emilio Dattolo was not going to be content in the shadows. While one may shudder at a comparison to a more mainstream band like Mudvayne, there is an oddly similar method to the bass-handling madness in both bands. Rather than play to hold a groove, this is all about ability and variety. Dattolo’s crazy bouncing around the fretboard actually lends a fascinating undercurrent to several songs on the disc (most namely “Dissonant Perspectives”) that provide an entirely new level to enjoy the music as a whole. Once you put your finger on what makes them sound so different, it’s hard not to purposely look for it in every song.

The songs themselves? Well, technical metal as a whole was never known for creating a catchy hook. Will anything on this disc stick in your head? Probably not. All of the playing, from the oddball time changes on drums to unexpected guitar runs, is more for listening with appreciation for the musicians’ abilities than creating something to throw onto a mix tape for a relaxing listen. The only possible exception to this would be the opening track “The High Price of Confidence,” definitely an invitation to delve further into the album featuring the best right up front. Unfortunately, things do start to muddle as the disc progresses as one can only dazzle with skill for so long. One should stick around for “The Soul Feeder,” however, as it contains many unexpected and downright fun elements, bringing a sparkle near the close of the album.

This being death metal, lyrics remain in the backseat. Whether they are poetic or ridiculous, most people would never know the difference due to the vocal stylings. Luca Minieri’s contributions in this regard are no different than the rest of the genre; what one can hear of the lyrics, there’s nothing earth-shattering, but the vocals are delivered in a manner inoffensive to the ears and do much to compliment the music as a whole. It also doesn’t hurt that the production of the disc doesn’t bury a single element of the band, yet still allows the vocals to simply remain one more instrument in the mix rather than standing out vulgarly.