The integration between progressive and deathcore/death metal has been fusing for the past few years and it seems the latest emerging bands are finding a happy medium between the two genres. While not fully containing the elements of both styles, groups such as Between the Buried and Me, The Faceless, or Job for a Cowboy are all established acts that have either hinted or embraced traits of these almost opposing subgenres in recent releases. As influences inevitably trickle down, many new bands have taken the path forged by these aforementioned acts and found a solid synthesis.
For the New Jersey-based group, Binary Code, guitarist Jesse Zuretti, vocalist Oded Weinstock, bassist Connor Appleton, guitarist PJ Spilletti, and drummer Sean Vizcaino have formed together to further the rise of what I like to call "melodic progcore". Now the band has not always been as polished and friendly as they appear on Moonsblood. Former frontman Michael Apprich lead their previous raw sound on 2009's Suspension of Disbelief and the Priest EP released in 2010. Although almost an ironic trend at this point in the scene to make such a shift, I completely stand by the band's decision of transitioning away from death metal abrasiveness in an evolution towards a prog-fuelled result. [It should be noted that the personnel listed above represents the current lineup as the writing credits for the LP is given to Jesse Zuretti, Oded Weinstock, Mike Goncalves and, Umar Fahim]
My first impression of the material showcased on this album was that of very genuine and wholesome qualities. Beginning with the song "Immersion," the progressive features shown were executed almost to the point of a Periphery meets Gojira scenario. For the other single, "Dark Meditations," a focus is placed more on the dynamic between atmosphere and uniquely paced riffage. The title track may be by far the most melodic and agreeable off the album, however the heavy properties restrict it from reaching into the hard rock radio-friendly territory. "Push" and "Knell" continue the direction of the "melodic progcore"' label that I previously deemed the band to possess with growls atop catchy verses. What I would normally expect to be featured consistently throughout a release, "Cetacean" dips into djent land.
Musically, these compositions may not be the most groundbreaking, but the diversity in vocals are really what drives this record home. They transition from death metal gutturals to the melodic side of a Mastodon styled chorus. There even are a few instances where the vocal approach sounds similar to the deep croons of Type O Negative's Peter Steele. Being Binary Code's first release with Weinstock on vocals, the broad range is very applaudable.
An impressive production team consisting of engineer/mixer Eyal Levi (The Contortionist, Monuments) and mastering by Alan Douches (Suicide Silence, Converge) beside a growing tour history places the band in a truly positive position. A band like Leprous or Textures did not exactly skyrocket in popularity at this point in their career, therefore I see this record serving as the foundation of what will be a profoundly respected band.
With this release, Binary Code proves that the progressive branch of the death metal scene is still alive and constantly in motion and expansion. Furthermore, the best aspect is they do not bear too obvious of a resemblance to others within their genres. Although there are moments of this album that reveal a clear likening towards their influences, the music remains ultimately their own. While nowhere near perfect or reaching the full potential that this band holds, I believe the vast variety of styles along with a fervent sense of identity warrants a high score and acknowledgement.