This pattern has been played out far too many times. Band comes along and kicks ass from the start. As time goes by though, original members start flaking away, and the core sound slowly begins to go in different directions. Finally, you get down to one original member and a sound that seemingly forces itself to touch on the original direction, but falls away to some completely new signatures that render said band to being little more than a shell of their former selves. After 14 years, Mnemic has eroded away to guitarist Mircea Gabriel Eftemie and four other jags (JAG = Just Another Guy) that have come in to sing the old songs while changing the entire chemistry and vibe of the band. For most, a listen to MNEMESIS followed by a listen to MECHANICAL SPIN PHENOMENA, and you'll think you listened to two entirely different bands. Some will call that musical growth. I'll call it failing direction as a band.
For a band that was compared to Fear Factory and Meshuggah when they first started, MNEMESIS reminds me a lot more of a heavy Ill Nino than ever before. This can be directly attributable to the vocals provided by Guillaume Bideau. His conversion from a screamer to one of these tired modern edged vocalists that does some screaming but provides more and more clean vocals is seemingly complete. Every single song has some screams for effect, but are dominated by clean vocals. Additionally, he's taken on the annoying trait of doing a very low end mumble/spoken word thing similar to Phil Anselmo on Pantera's "Good Friends And A Bottle Of Pills". This is cool occasionally, but it happens over and over throughout MNEMESIS. "Junkies On the Storm" is plagued by this feature. When he's not annoying in that way, his vocals just sound like every other post hardcore douche out there today. Listening to a song like "I've Been You" exemplify this fact. Bideau's performance on this album is so moderned up and annoying that it basically brings this release way down.
He's not alone though. While Eftemie's guitar tone is still firmly tuned to the key of Meshuggah, what he's playing is fairly average. A song like "Pattern Platform" paints the picture well, as the riffs are little more than standard movements that just follow the beats provided by the average new rhythm section of bassist Simone Bertozzi and drummer Brian Larsen. Over top of this averageness is Bideau's dull, melodic modern metal droning. This song, in particular, is just tough to get through.
PITRIFF RATING - 42/100 - Not only is this the worst release Mnemic has done, but it's the first where not a single track jumped out as a keeper...or even very interesting. There's only so much cutting into the integrity of a band you can do before it loses it's musical flavor and vision. Mnemic have crossed that threshold. This isn't very good at all.