Assemblent - Equilibrium
Industrialized Gothic Thrash-Death
10 songs (42:58)
Release year: 2006
Assemblent, Nemesis
Reviewed by Ken

Portugal is not a country that has ever been known as the hotbed of metal. For many, if asked to name a Portuguese metal band, the band that would likely come to mind would be Moonspell, probably the most well-known metal band from that region, at least outside of the country. Portugal may not be overflowing with internationally-known metal bands, but rest assured, like in any country, they do exist.

Enter Assemblent.

Formed in 1998 the band was then simply just a group of friends playing cover tunes under the name of Dawn; it wasn’t until 2002, as the band members matured, that Assemblent was born and the band began to write their own original material. A 2-song demo followed shortly thereafter and garnered positive reviews. After touring throughout Portugal in 2004, the band decided to record a full-length promo album with Miguel Fonseca (Thormentor) for the purpose of generating label interest. It worked. A young Portugal-based label going by the name of Nemesis signed the band and felt that the 10-song promo was strong enough to be released after being properly mastered as the current promo version needed a little added boost.

Enter Equilibrium.

Assemblent are going to find themselves constantly being compared to one band: Moonspell. Not a bad band to be compared to, and not a completely inaccurate comparison, but one that should be taken lightly as the band has far more to offer that is of their own making. Equilibrium starts off with a short atmospheric instrumental of the same name, nothing to sweaty yourself up over, but it’s a good intro, a nice segue into “Heartwork,” the first true song that sees the band getting right down to business with a death metal groove chock full of heavy riffs, double-bass, keyboards and raw, tormented vocals. “Into My Sleep” follows suit, but with more of a driving industrial lilt and a great chorus. Things slow down a bit with “A Dying Moment” and “Silent Cries,” both songs bring the Moonspell comparisons to light, the former for it’s clean, somber vocals during the verses and the heavier chorus, the latter for the same reasons but more so because Moonspell’s Fernando Ribeiro actually performs guest vocals for the entire song; both are excellent tunes and though “Silent Cries” could easily pass as a Moonspell song it does not detract from the integrity of the album.

The second half of the disc begins with “Grammaton Cleric,” a brutal song that essentially has its own intro, one that sounds like the beginning of a sci-fi concept album: an atmospheric backdrop and an apocalyptic narrator talking of a third world war and the creation of a “new arm of the law, the Grammaton Cleric, who’s sole task is to seek out and eradicate the true source of man’s inhumanity to man, his ability to feel.” I’d comment further on the lyrics, but I only have the promo right now—there has been a delay with the CD manufacturing—and I can’t understand the words. The rest of the album follows a similar path of industrial-tinged metal with hints of death metal and thrash, the keyboards and atmospherics lending a light gothic element. “From Red Core To Black Sky” is a standout with its speedy riffs mixed with a pounding groove. “Terria” is another short instrumental not unlike “Equilibrium.” The album ends with “Subtellurian Darkness” and “Fears,” the former starts out with a great riff and has its moments throughout, but kind of falls apart in too many spots (definitely the worst on the album), the latter of the two solidifies the overall quality of the rest of the album as it, too, is a commanding slab of industrialized thrash-death metal.

Although only meant as a promo-only release to send out to labels, Assemblent created something that deserved more exposure than A&R trash bins or the inside of a box stored in a basement or closet, never to be heard by the masses. Equilibrium is an impressive debut. The mix could be better and the guitar tone stronger, and while the production is raw and gritty, it all works well within the dark, monolithic confines of the album. And though the band will be compared to Moonspell, I feel that the comparison should only be used as a reference point and it is no reason to not lend an ear to this band; the comparison is valid, but the band stands on their own and have their own distinct personality outside of that similarity in style. Equilibrium is not a masterpiece, there is room for improvement, but it is a highly recommended debut.

AUDIO: Heartwork (Radio Edit)

For streaming audio samples of each song and a video for “Heartwork” go HERE.

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
Heartwork, Into My Sleep, Silent Cries and From Red Core To Black Sky
Ken quoted 80 / 100
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