‘Pinching Nerves’ is a minor disappointment after ‘Just the Tip’ offered messy but energetic thrash metal that dipped its toes into progressive and technical thrash territory. This 26 minute “full-length” is all too brief, kinda generic and anything but progressive. At what point did Scandinavian style post-melodeath power-thrash become identifiers for anything even referentially “progressive”? Instead ‘Pinching Nerves’ takes me right back to 2002. This sounds a lot like the sort of me-too thrashers that popped up after Kreator came out with ‘Violent Revolution’ around that time. Is it bad? No, but between the zippity power/melodeath riffs, the “-core” vocalist, and the stolen half-assed Vektor riffs it is totally worth overlooking.
“The Witch is Dead” isn’t a bad song at all, but it comes across like Insomnium covering Vektor at half-speed. The main riff is pretty signature sounding Vektor so it throws me off to hear a band taking so blatantly from the ‘Outer Isolation’ era of that band. The EP’s finest moment is the twiddled-out high speed pop-punk/melodeathcore track “Corridors of the Mind” and it is a damn shame the rest of the album doesn’t reach that level of focus. Well, if you did want that kind of punchy-shreddy melo-song then hey go buy literally any Exmortus album. I’m exaggerating quite a bit and I think this release would be more troublesome if they simply stopped labeling themselves progressive thrash metal. It is great that Expain are moving away from the chaotic sound on the previous album even if it showed a bit more personality. I guess I would move away from jokey party-thrash antics too, if it’d be more impactful. Worth a listen.
|Released||September 15, 2017|
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