It is always hard not to have an extra buzz to the anticipation of a new Senser release and the unleashing of their fifth studio album To The Capsules is no exception. Following the Biting Rhymes EP, an interim covers release between albums, the new ten track tempest from UK’s crossover legends shows the band at its most eclectic yet. Experience and maturity has certainly not diluted their want and intent to stretch their boundaries and on the evidence of the new release Senser have openly taken their consistently adventurous confrontational enterprise and inventive provocation to new levels. The debate is still going on in thoughts as to whether the album is their finest moment to date but certainly with a compelling expanse of imagination within a sumptuous storm of metal, hip hop, and electronica to simplify it all alongside the as expected political and social lyrical confrontation from the sextet, To The Capsules is a bright blaze in a fiery musical year.
Fan -funded through a highly successful Pledgemusic campaign and released via Imprint Music, the self-produced album takes the strong base established on the band’s comeback record How To Do Battle of 2009, and expands it into an intensive, incendiary, and satisfaction filling encounter. With a live presence which has accelerated into one of most exciting and inspiring over the past couple of years, Senser stir things up to another tempestuous height with To The Capsules, a record returning the band to the fore of genre merging invention and antagonistic ingenuity.
Big bulging magnetic rhythms open up the release, the initial pulsating lure of Devoid an immediate seizure of ears and thoughts. Soon after the guitar of Nick Michaelson is sending scars of searing sonic temptation across the rhythmic slavery, the merger only accelerating the hunger already brewing from the album’s entrance. Taking a stand of classic metal seeded enterprise alongside the still compelling rhythms, vocalist Heitham Al-Sayed unleashes his distinctive and passionate narrative delivery. It is prime Senser at this point but with a growl and predation which is as fresh a bait as ever laid down by the band. The album features guest vocalist iMMa across its length, the excellent vocalist having toured with the band since founding member Kerstin Haigh stepped down last year, and even as support on the song through the chorus raises the temptation and sultriness wrapping the metal bred intensity. As the predatory bass stalking of James Barrett and the outstanding drum exploits of Johnny Morgan, as well as the desk twisting skills of Andrew Clinton (aka DJ Awe) conjure greater shadows and traps for the listener to be enthralled by, the track is an immense and memorable lure into To The Capsules.
The following Time Travel Scratch drips intrigue and simmering seduction from its opening sample and coaxing, the DJ craft of Clinton stalked by the bestial bass sound conjured by Barrett immersed in a psychedelic funk kissed weave of imaginative persuasion. The track at times reminds of nineties UK rap group Honky, its grooves and senses mesmerising rhythms a similar toxicity wrapped in a soul and jazz funk fusion. The invigorating dance makes way for another lofty peak for the release. Witch Village with more than a whispered element of the weight and might of debut album Stacked Up to it, courts groove metal vengefulness and classic rock melodic enterprise for a result which is an aggressive and fearsome blaze of aural exploration and lyrical incitement.
The brilliant Wounded Spectre continues the torrent of diversity already rampaging across the album, its hardcore/punk rabidity linked to an alternative metal invention. Riffs are a carnivorous instigator of the passions whilst the sonic noise rock like stabs from Michaelson fall like shards of aural manna around the vocal vociferousness provided by Al-Sayed and iMMa. It keeps the album at its highest plateau, and is soon backed by the scintillating Break The Order, the track two and a half minutes of thrash ‘n’ punk fury. Take a pinch of Motorhead, The Grumpynators, Fuckshovel, and maybe a little Five Finger Death Punch and you have another piece of Senser alchemy to bask within.
The sultry sirenesque beckoning of iMMa within Alpha Omega and its sweet Eastern bred toxicity only increases as the track unveils intensive sinews and spite and melodies as virulently tempting as any release this year, whilst its successor Liquidity is a beguiling fluid heat of rap vocals, scratching squeals, and a psychedelic wash with a flavour of Dizraeli and the Small Gods to it. Neither track triggers the intensity of passion as their predecessors but both leave appetite greedy and satisfaction full to continue the raging pleasure.
Echelon features Kerstin Haigh on vocals alongside Al-Sayed and is another which just fails to reach earlier heights but for unpredictable and exhausting adventure is on the frontline, the track a bruising and uncompromising scorching fire of metal and hard rock rapaciousness. In its distinct character Chemtrails which has UK hip hop artists Junior Disprol and Manage guesting on its offering, also has a hunger which toys with rabidity within its electronic swamp and brass irresistibility. It is a challenging swarm of aural fascination, a glorious investigation which adds another startling aspect to the album whilst setting up the closing seven minute epic, Let There Be War. Despite the track epitomising all the strengths and invention of Senser it is a little disappointing, lacking that essential spark though like the other songs which slip below the album’s fullest heights, it is more down to the quality surrounding them on the album than any major shortcomings within its skilled and provocative walls.
Nevertheless To The Capsules is a thrilling and richly exciting release and Senser back as one of the most innovative and boundary worrying bands in British rock, metal, rap….well within any genre they wish to employ.
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