Reciprocal – New Order of the Ages (Lacerated Enemy Records)Monday, 7th July 2014
Originally issued independently at the tail end of 2013, Reciprocal’s second album is seeing a wider distribution courtesy of Lacerated Enemy Records. Reciprocal play death metal that takes some heavy cues from Necrotism/Heartwork-era Carcass and Hate Eternal and combines it with some technical ferocity as well as some fleeting deathcore influences. The high/low vocals work nicely in providing some variety, but it’s the guitars and bass that really take the cake. Much of the material is very technically-driven, and the riffs finely balance the line between wankery and songwriting. It makes for some devastating moments, and the true standout is the bass playing. Not content to sit idly by in the background, there are some moments that really help to define the band with their bass-driven segments.
Sadly, there are two major downfalls (and easy future fixes) that keep Reciprocal from achieving their best. The first is the sheer length of the album. Technically invasive death metal has a tough time standing at 45 minutes, let alone the near 70 minutes available on New Order of the Ages! The bigger issue is that of the sampling, used at the end of almost every track. As the cover portrays, Reciprocal center themselves around political and societal issues, which there are certainly no problems with (it’s a great change from the usual murder/death/Satan lyrics that plague this material). The problem is that the lengthy samples add significantly to the overall time frame and really throw a wrench in the flow of the album, particularly with repeat listens. Most also try for a creepy effect that works for the first few songs but gets stale towards the end.
There is much to enjoy about Reciprocal, musically speaking. If they could get away from the sampling next time and aim for a shorter time frame, it’s almost guaranteed that they will be all over everyone’s radar. It’s just a shame that it plagues New Order of the Ages so badly.