Labeling SNIPERS OF BABEL is rather complicated and it is what piques curiosity in the first place. Let’s characterize it as a melting pot of an Americanized Death Metal in its structure but with the tone of a Scandinavian Death Metal – whose rhythmic makes you strongly think of GLORIA MORTI – all punctuated with many and varied influences ranging from Industrial Metal to Nü Metal depending on the songs. Now that the seed of curiosity is planted, the sextet is receiving our full attention.
And it will need a great deal of this curiosity. Indeed, the first notes of Initiate The Plague immediately remind of the American’s Metal archetype: déjà-vu as we hear everywhere else in similar formations, and not to mention the manufactured effects that are not necessarily the finest ones and their implementation is really gross. In all honesty, it is really not essential to add sounds of pistons or hammers to be Industrial.
There is still this little spark that just waiting to ignite in all its incandescence but it will have to pass over Scourge, which has nothing to contribute. Muddled in its execution, the track struggles to maintain interest with its singers having difficulties to stand out despite a rhythmic trying to raise the level. At the same time, what to say when it comes to Kevin Talley behind the drums? That guy has nothing more to prove with an experience among DEVIL DRIVER, DYING FETUS, CHIMAIRA, SUFFOCATION … and many other juggernauts. In a nutshell, it’s pro work: thoughtful, clean and first and foremost, effective throughout the length.
Let’s go back a little more on the vocal part which is, in my opinion, the biggest asset of the group to make it stand out from the others. Three singers is good, exploit the strengths of each is better. Because, the subtlety between the two guttural singers Jeremy Dyer and Tommy Mott remains thin for the moment. Their vocal tones are already almost similar, plus there are only a few moments when they sing in canon or in polyphony. It’s a shame because it’s a distribution of blocks when it happens! Just launch The Fury to enjoy a machine gun where the singers take the microphone each in turn on a blasting blast. A little featuring with Oli Peters (ARCHSPIRE) on this track would be funny though. But it is mainly on 25th Parallel that the two buddies are working the hardest: canons, polyphony, contrast between grunt / scream and guttural / melodic with a touch of Persian exoticism and here we get the winning recipe. For her part Layla Singer fulfills very well her main role of chorister and brings a little freshness when the male duo is struggling to prevail. Excellent on Redemption, she even allows herself to rap on Another Body Murdered, which pays tribute to the golden era of Nü Metal.
It is therefore really from Redemption that the band will become interesting and reveal all its latent potential. With a more melodic approach, the three vocalists are in perfect harmony and are flowing one after another the choirs on which are added some screams, reinforced by the keyboard that orchestrates the whole while remaining subtle. This fulfillment will be found in the following tracks afterwards. Well, if you exclude the unnecessary double-barreled intros and outros: take interludes upon yourself and it will avoid spending two minutes forward to get to the first notes of each track… Anyways, the tracks benefit from a better songwriting with a stronger and more technical structure. Let’s fast backward on The Fury and its faster tempo then Another Body Murdered, and its more experimental approach allowing at last the bass to express itself as it should be, and finally comes 25th Parallel, which perfectly closes this first EP of SNIPERS OF BABEL. Maybe that’s where that spark of hope comes from.
So yes, it’s a unedited version but the raw look brings this slight gritty and crunchy side that pleases in the metal: at the right stance between an awful underground Raw and a smooth and bland big label’s production. Be careful, however, to not to fall into one of these extremes. I still have a bitter taste on 7TH NEMESIS‘ Archetype of Natural Violence that is actually Violentia Imperatrix Mundi having the wind taken out of its sails, way too much polished that an analogy would become gross; or the mastering of the complete MECHINA‘s discography with its Compendium so shiny on the symphonic elements that they completely obscure the rest.
It is by concluding on a good performance that Redemption manages to make forget the few cons and shortcomings of the sextet. Useless electronic effects, lack of depth in the guitars that would benefit from being a little more prominent, some confusing passages… It would suffice to correct these points while taking more risks on the vocal side, which would reveal the full potential of SNIPERS OF BABEL. Starting on a good basis, the group could go far if the band focuses more on the ideas of the second half of the album and if they do not rely too much on post production. Once again, I make the connection with 7TH NEMESIS who were also very promising and full of qualities that unfortunately were totally destroyed by a too excessive mastering. Hoping they do not fall into the same trap.