Monday, 17 June 2013

Brothers from other mothers and Irish Twins

 The Black Dahlia Murder and Killswitch Engage have a lot in common. They have a keen sense of identity and possess deep knowledge of metal history. They love what they do and have a sense of humour. Strnad's thick glasses scream "real life, actual nerd" and Adam D.'s sideburns, receding hairline and tutus on stage have even caused the already fully furrowed foreheads of serious metal heads to furrow even further. Although their chosen genres are somewhat far apart both bands prove that a sense of humour and heavy fucking metal with heart need not be mutually exclusive. They also happen to both have new albums out as I write.

KSE's Disarm the Descent is a splendid, lean platter of post-metal-core explosion, metal... Once posterboys for all that was evil in modern (relatively) mainstream metal KSE have exceeded their image and sound. Heavy verses still give way to smooth melodic choruses but there is is an organic vibe to proceedings. The biggest breakthrough is solos - where once there would have been a breakdown now there are hell for leather solos tearing through the middle eights all over this album. Only problem is that they are often not long enough (for me). Suspending knowledge of 'core and simply opening your ears to this album yields an exquisite galloping, post-Iron Maiden, post-Swedish melodeath theme throughout.

Meanwhile, Everblack is nothing short of a masterpiece. When Cannibal Corpse decided to stop treading blood and properly embrace technicality from Kill onward, they proved to all up-and-comers and veterans alike that while strictly limited, death metal could be done better. They upped the anti and have dropped three slabs of pure, brutal, tech death without compromise over the last 5 years. With Everblack, TBDM have essentially reached the same point as Cannibal did on Kill. Featuring an astounding awareness of death metal conventions and history as well as the gall to experiment and traverse different genres (from the slime of Morbid Angel to the claustrophobia of Suffocation to the soaring heights of the Swedish glory days) Dahlia simply murder (the competition). The production is astounding, polished enough to hear everything that's going on but primal enough so that it sounds like a band playing rather than a Pro Tools' quantisation and sound replacement textbook exercise.

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