“Error-prone repair of mobile genetic elements.“
Ontario’s Droid debuted with a fairly exciting EP (‘Disconnected’) that resembled the earlier days of fellow Canadian tech-thrash elite Obliveon with some more pedestrian thrash ideas serving as the bones of the experience. While I think Voivod‘s late 80’s records serve as inspiration for Droid’s core taste and style, they’ve matched the modernization standards put forth by the now ‘peaked’ Vektor while still worshiping the altar of progressive science fiction metal created by the originals. That isn’t to say this just sounds like friggin’ Voivod the whole time, but you’re getting a twisty-turny progressive thrash metal album that is easily digestible for classicist thrash metal fans. In fact, Droid themselves are happy to point towards space rock and prog rock for their flourishes and inspiration. I wouldn’t say they’ve modernized the experience as much as what we heard last year on ‘Terminal Redux’ but this feels forward moving if not entirely forward thinking.
‘Disconnected’ felt like too many ideas squashed together but the musical intention was much the same as ‘Terrestrial Mutations’ only on this full-length the band shows expert restraint in both speed and reduction of traditional thrash metal tension-and-release. The album doesn’t feel relentlessly dense with ideas, and the ideas that it does have breathe around the room like a noxious, orgasm-inducing gaseous anomaly. The arrangement never feels like riff-salad and the intentional melodies and heavy psych tangents are all related. Droid has carefully pieced together an album that impresses both in the moment and as a whole experience, it elevates previous sci-fi space-prog thrash lineages and avoids the uncomfortable tautness of their debut EP.
At it’s core ‘Terrestrial Mutations’ is more or less a more thrash metal take on albums like Voivod’s ‘Nothingface’ with Vektor guitar tones and harsher vocals. (I’m trying to be reductive, here.) The 80’s death/thrash vocals give the record some testosterone where needed and the cleaner delivery is always tasteful, avoiding space opera (“Recharging the Void”, lookin’ at you) and fostering no relation to Snake’s style or inflection. Stick around for the end of the record, as dreamy as side A is it is side B where things really pick up and punch out. 2017 has been a surprising year for quality, thoughtful thrash metal releases and Droid’s full-length debut is one of the most powerful musical statements from the genre in years.