Adapt & Survive
Released 31st May 2014
Released via Raising Legends/Raging Planet
I thoroughly love it when a band brings together seemingly unrelated influences into a consistent amalgam of riffery. Gojira are a prime example, drifting the tremolo arm of black metal across a valley of doomy chords, all the while casting the sensibilities of modern metal hook creation around them as they go. It invariably results in something more than the average; something juicy to get your teeth into which delivers a full palette of flavour into every hungry bite.
Not that they sound much like the French overlords of all things thunderous and addictive, Portugal’s Equaleft seem to have attended some of the same seminars on genre-busting. Adapt & Survive’s intro piece, We Are, is more reminiscent of the soundtrack to a tense political sci-fi thriller movie than the kick-off of your everyday metal album – and with good reason. This is a band who genuinely likes to challenge, but not at the expense of great metal, and this is not your average metal album.
Slamming into the first track proper (…The Chameleons), the yaw of the music is meaty, but there’s a hint of old school tech hovering in the background: a whiff from the oceans of sewage continual drifting from under the running boards. The Meshuggah influence seems to be worn with pride throughout, but there is more of a natural flow to these songs. As much as I love the Shug, being one of the freaky few who can disco dance to most of their back-catalogue, it’s nice to hear this style taken in a new direction, embracing movements of pure rocking out. To put it another way, it’s great to be in possession of such a mighty array of weaponry, but sometimes you only need your knuckles to get the job done.
Without losing its unique character, Adapt & Survive, travels from the dredging doom of New False Horizons’ intro, through the Swede-esque sway and churn of Heroes Of Nothing and over the chuntering death-thrash in Invigorate (re-recorded from a previous demo version), struggling to contain a seeping energy rare in similar circles.
By looking the Devil in the eye and shunting him a middle-finger of non-compliance, Equaleft have come up with something a little special. The lift of emotional song-writing. The satisfaction of technical proficiency. A unique personality. It is 100% an album to take home and own, and digest slowly.
This will be going on the old MP4 player, the computer, and CDs being left both in the bedroom and any automobile that I can get it in, because I can see myself being in the mood for this on many, many occasions. There will no longer be a gap in the music when I’ve overplayed my Meshuggah, Agonyst and Man Must Die collections. Or is that my old In Flames, Pissing Razors and Arch Enemy CDs. I’m not sure. It’s somewhere in the wasteland between and it’s really good stuff!