Miażdżący europejski death metal inspirowany zarówno rodzimą sceną (MERCYLESS, PESTILENCE) jak również klasycznym amerykańskim death metalem (DEATH, MORBID ANGEL).
Debiutancki album belgijskiego DEHUMAN!
With music, more than many other forms of entertainment, there is a huge presence of nostalgia. People feel that the music that they grew up with is the best, simply for the fact that they grew up with it. In metal this is especially true, the genre has such a vast history and there are so many people that miss the “good old days” when they were a kid or a teenager. This being true, it makes sense that bands would want to re-create that feel, that old school metal feel, bringing new life to an old art form. Dehuman attempts to do just that with their first official release “Black Throne of All Creation”. Instead of progressing with influences from older bands though, it sometimes borders on tributes to metal titans such as Death and Obituary. While the album has plenty of good ideas, worship of former bands, and the lack of consistent songwriting bring this album down.
Although the album has a powerful “copycat” feel to it, Dehuman do manage to write some very effective riffs. The guitarists are well schooled in traditional death metal, and are able to recreate it well. The first three songs on the album show off their chops wonderfully, and are great death metal guitar parts. At some points, you forget that you are listening to an album that was released in 2012. This, I feel, was their goal, to balance out a level of tribute and originality. Unfortunately, those moments where the sound feels fresh are few, and the majority of the record is set in somewhat unoriginal imitation. Another frustrating factor of this album is the composition of the songs. As mentioned before, many of the riffs and guitar parts are impressive and intriguing, but the songs are only songs because they have different names. Each one is through composed which, while this can be an effective songwriting technique, causes the songs to ramble on and bleed into each other. “Black Throne of All Creation” is Dehuman’s first full-length record, so this type of offense is understandable. Within the progressive death metal vein, it can be difficult to create a feel to each separate song while avoiding a ‘verse-chorus-verse’ structure. It takes awhile to perfect, and is one of the reasons why bands like Death are so rightfully worshipped. However, the lack of song cohesion is frustrating, and causes many good guitar parts to go to waste. Songs such as “Spiral of Loss” and “Path to Oblivion” are able to avoid this trap and standout as more put together and not just cut and pasted riffs. One of the strongest aspects of their writing however, is their focus on rhythmic breaks and patterns. This sets them slightly apart and allows them to sound less like a cover band. “Harvest the Sun” and “Cast of Assassination” are the pinnacle of this feature. If they capitalized on their ability to write these parts, they may have been able to come out with a more unique record.
The production of the album is another weak point at times. The mix is turned very much towards the bass end of the spectrum. While bass is an integral part of any record, the guitars are sometimes lost, and the album seems muddy at time. The real problem with this though is that the bassist isn’t a standout performer on the record and while the production is emphasizing the low end, there isn’t much low end to be sought. The drums on the record sometimes sound too manufactured, and at other times they compliment the rest of the performance. This inconsistency creates more frustration. There are several guitar solos, and ironically, are the worst parts of the guitars on the album. They are unoriginal and predictable, and leave much to be desired. “Spiral of Loss” has the most interesting guitar solo, and manages to break that pattern. The players have talent, and are able to execute a solo well, it gives me hope for their future releases, hope that they will shake off some of the boring and tack on some more individuality. The vocalist on the album does a great job of recreating the older death metal styles and his howls and growls are the perfect sound for this band. He couldn’t hurt from trying to stand out from the rest of the vocalists from the scene, but for now his style works for the band.
The structure of the album is already affected by the songwriting. The lack of cohesion makes the album feel like a steady stream of riffs and breaks, which can get tiresome. More distinguishable songs would allow the structure to breathe more and create more of an effect. “Down With the World” is where the album starts to feel a little long. It comes after “Spiral of Loss”, one of the best tracks on the album, which in contrast makes it seem even weaker. Interesting enough, the last half of the album has all of the best and worst songs on the album. This gives it a nice pickup towards the end when after “Down With the World” you feel a little fatigued. It ends with the best track on the album. “Path to Oblivion” is one of the most organized and interesting songs of them all, and ends the album with what the listener hopes their next releases will sound more like.
Dehuman does an impressive job of bringing back the atmosphere and feel of the Death albums. The riffs are often times very evil sounding and the vocals are laced with pain and anguish. The infrequent use of odd vocal samples is out of place though, and they come at odd times and throw the listener off. It is undeniably death metal, and the feel of the album is one of the most enjoyable features of it.
Overall, “Black Throne of Creation” is a record that is trying very hard, and has the ability to become a stepping stone to some impressive later work. They have many good ideas, and know how to create an atmosphere of pain, despair, and metal. Their problems come when separating themselves from the past greats, something that needs to be given attention. Through composing songs is also a problem, and causes the album to stagnate and run together. Aside from their faults, Dehuman shows huge potential, and I look forward to their future releases.