Communic - Waves of Visual Decay
Nuclear Blast
Aggressive Prog/Power Metal
7 songs (57'56")
Release year: 2006
Communic, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Adam
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is also well known that imitators good enough to stand alone are hard to find in the music industry. Due to this, I listened to Waves of Visual Decay, the newest album from Norway’s Communic with a fair bit of trepidation. Having only listened to this album and not their debut, two things are very clear to me. Yes, they surely imitate Nevermore in a few ways, but dammit if they don’t do it really well.

The first and most obvious piece of ammo for those that cast this band as “clones” are the vocals of Oddleif Stensland. I would be lying if I said he didn’t sound a lot like Warrel Dane, utilizing the same wailing, tortured, and often harmonic power vocals as he does. However, to me, if it weren’t for the vocals, the comparisons wouldn’t hold as much weight. Bottom line, with this album, Communic have ascended themselves to being one of the top progressive power outfits around. They exude a severe technicality that is hard not to like. Another thing to mention is the aggressiveness to be found here. There are positively no orchestral arrangements, operatic female vocals, etc. Waves of Visual Decay is more of an attack than a beautiful journey. To aid in this, the production on this album is absolutely pulverizing, as evidenced early on with Under a Luminous Sky. A swirling guitar track effect beginning is crushed shortly by the thunderous descent of the opening riff, and let me tell you, it is HEAVY. Another standout on this track are the vocals, Dane-esque or not. Stensland maintains the middle ground with a harmonized approach before giving way to a jaw-dropping wail for the chorus. It has truly been some time since I have been introduced to a band with a better song. This momentum doesn’t stop until Watching It All Disappear, which appears to be the band’s best attempt at a ballad. Even then, the aggressiveness of the preceding two songs is present. The small change in overall tempo is a welcome one, however. What follows is the finest display on the album, as Fooled By the Serpent is a truly magnificent piece of work. A constantly twisting and turning guitar assault, full of odd time signatures and thrashing moments, dominates this tale of man’s fall into sin, along with a chorus that has not yet failed to give me goose bumps. Just before the five-minute mark, Stensland sends his vocals off into Rob Halford territory for a short stay. To me, it is his range that makes him stand apart from, well, you know who. Top all this off with a magnificent solo towards the end, and you’ve got a highly enjoyable experience on your hands. The title track follows a similar formula as Watching It All Disappear, but with better vocal harmonics. The rest of the album will be pleasing to those who enjoyed the first few songs, as only small wrinkles are introduced here and there. My Bleeding Victim introduces some well-placed synths into the mix, as well as a harmonized guitar solo. The closer, At Dewy Prime contains a looped ghostly vocal chant over a bass only foundation.

While I may never call Communic a truly unique band due to their similarities to, ahem, some other band, I will still say that this album goes a long way toward cementing them as a great addition to the progressive power metal scene. Who knows? In time, they may add enough nuances where critics will stop mentioning them in the same sentence with Warrel and the boys. That is certainly not the case here, but that did not stop Waves of Visual Decay from being one the most memorable and enjoyable listening experiences I had this year.
Killing Songs :
Under a Luminous Sky, Fooled By the Serpent, My Bleeding Victim
Adam quoted 84 / 100
Ken quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Communic that we have reviewed:
Communic - The Bottom Deep reviewed by Khelek and quoted 85 / 100
Communic - Payment of Existence reviewed by Thomas and quoted 88 / 100
Communic - Conspiracy in Mind reviewed by Cody and quoted 70 / 100
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