By Lord Randall

Having been into BELIEVER since "Extraction From Mortality", the announcement that the Bachman-Daub team responsible for some of the most forward-thinking metal of the early ‘90s (yeah, I said it) would reconvene for what would become 2009’s "Gabriel" left me drooling. Turns out the band delivered on all fronts, yet still the question remained; was "Gabriel" a new beginning, or simply an overdue arrivederci from a duo of never-quite-made-its who wanted one last chance to bathe in the deserved limelight?

I’m happy to report that, while certainly not "Dimensions Part II" and not "Gabriel: The Sequel", BELIEVER’s 5th album reveals their reunion to be far from a mid-life crisis. Based on the no longer futuristic concepts of cloning, genetic code breaking, and the eradication of “deformities” neurological and physical, "Transhuman" takes us to a Gibsonian world more FEAR FACTORY than FORBIDDEN, more DEVIN TOWNSEND than DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, which is exactly what the subject matter requires.

In the interest of calling a clunker what it is, though, ‘Lie Awake’ simply lies, and if the intent was to conjure up the feeling of utter, vapid boredom living in such an aforementioned society, the quintet has surely succeeded. C’mon, guys, this regurgitated, pedestrian pabulum isn’t you and you know it. Mercifully, the semi-psychotropic ‘G.U.T.’ lulls the listener into forgetting what came before, and when the Lewis Carroll references morph the line “Matter, Unified” to “Hatter, Unified”, you know BELIEVER hasn’t lost it. ‘Multiverse’ is saved by its disjointed interludes, but ‘End Of Infinity’ is BELIEVER as challenging as ever, multiple themes being revisited and turned in on themselves, Bachman’s instantly recognizable rasp finally making an appearance. There’s a bit of QUEENSRYCHE’s "Rage For Order" lyrically here (think ‘Neue Regel’ and ‘Screaming In Digital’), especially in the cold, cryogenic loneliness of the instrumental ‘Currents’ and ‘Traveler’.

Giving the older fans something to sink their teeth into, ‘Entanglement’ nods to both the debut’s straightforward headbangability and "Sanity Obscure"’s flirtations with the avant garde that would reveal themselves fully on "Dimensions". In all, "Transhuman" is neither the sound of a band resting on old, withered laurels, nor a band completely reinventing themselves to appeal to a younger demographic. I’d no more have wanted to hear BELIEVER put out "Transhuman" in 1989 than I would to hear "Extraction From Mortality: Redux" from them now. And for that, I applaud them.