Continuum – Designed Obsolescence (Unique Leader)Thursday, 14th February 2019
A stacked line-up doesn’t always mean that the band will deliver the goods. But in the case of Continuum, their 2015 debut The Hypothesis hit all the marks for the tech death genre. It may have taken four years to bring forth album number two (you have members of Allegaeon, Inanimate Existence, and Deeds of Flesh here, among others), but Designed Obsolescence brings in the brutality without batting an eye.
Just as steeped in frantic speed and annihilation as its predecessor, Designed Obsolescence is first and foremost a gut-punch in audio form. Explosive energy rumbles from each track, frequently engaging in dizzying speeds (with the technical gusto yet oddly catchy combo that fans of the genre crave), but not being afraid of dishing out some equally enjoyable grooves (dare we say slams on a track like “Theorem”) and chunky mid-tempo riffing that aids in keeping the brutality at a fever pitch but without fatiguing the listener with a one-tempo approach. The tech chops are there, but one thing that helps Continuum find some less-traveled ground is not overly relying on it. Some enjoyable and intricate stuff is a part of a track like “Autonomic,” but some good ole death metal extremity keeps it grounded and adds the opportunity for more subtle melodic engagement, not to mention some fringe sci-fi insertions. Toss in a streamlined approach of ‘no filler all killer’ in 32-minutes and a varied yet entirely monstrous vocal performance from Riley McShane and you have a real steamroller of a release.
A celebration and merger of barbaric death metal instincts with more refined modern tech approaches, Designed Obsolescence is exhilarating. It lacks the cold and simply calculated approach of many of their peers and instead leaps into carnage without fear of repercussions. In doing so, provides an enjoyment factor that cements the band as willing to step up and be considered future leaders.