Review by Alex on August 14, 2020.
Sometimes in metal, after you've gotten tired of the cookie-monster flooding your ear canals with all sorts of deep guttural growls, you just want to kick back and listen to some instrumental music, in this case, technical death metal. Sometimes doing this gives the listener a different perspective of the music to be heard on any given album within the genre. It allows you to really appreciate what it is the drummer and guitarist do that keep you head-banging. Plus you get a glimpse of just how difficult or tricky some sections are to perform and you're able to pick up on certain things you may have missed when big-mouth over there could not seem to keep it shut for a few seconds.
The instrumental work we get to dissect is coming from a duo under the band name Fermentor. They play technical/progressive death metal (and include some surprises) on their debut album Continuance. Usually I'd pass this up with barely a glance; however, since the black and death metal snarls, growls and shrieks have been a tiring thing as of late, I used this as an opportunity to refresh. I'm quite pleased I did accept this promo because what Fermentor are able to achieve is praise worthy.
You're given ten tracks of technical tranquility on Continuance, with each doing something interesting all the while different. Opening track 'The Stench' is quite a mixed-pot from the get-go; merging black metal, progressive metal and the obvious death metal offences to make a statement early on that your time will be well-spent. There are moments you could predict what comes next along with times in which they completely turn off the lights before flicking the switch back on to introduce us to some proggy eerieness. More surprises await as you veer off into tracks like 'Thunderboss' (that actually sounds thunderous via the meaty blast beats aided by thick riffs) and 'Mechanism'. These tracks are chock full of twists and turns plus they sound the part rather than appearing to be thrown in just for the sake of tech death metal. Melodic instances, spontaneous chugchords and some Swedish death metal tones are added to the technical affair.
I like the fact that the songs don't sound diddly-doodly like many albums within the genre do. I'm talking about releases that use up so much technicality that the actual death metal gets diluted in a frenzy of nerdy fingering. That heavy element is still present and can be found very active on songs such as 'The Decay of Western Society', 'Landbridge' and 'Cotterpin' that is the best track for me due to its seamless incorporation of heavy metal riffing around the 2:20 mark that suddenly shifts into black metal territory.
The sheer stamina of the individuals being Dylan Marks (drums) and Adam Wollach (guitar) is absolutely unbelievable; hence, the pace at which they play seamlessly merged with the complexity of their labyrinth tunes. You never get the feeling they are holding back, as a duo they give you 110% from the first to final track, 'Project Zeus'. You really get the feeling that even after such a lengthy display of instrumental gymnastics there's more left in the tank of Fermentor due to how effortless they make playing songs like 'Mechanism', 'Stage V' and the aforementioned 'Project Zeus'. Yet I can't help but wonder if there will be a follow up to the album, if the unit is even able to outdo what was done on Continuance. Perhaps this is just the beginning and the act is to be continued...
Rating: 8 out of 10554