Deny the Fallen – “Echo Chamber”


Deny the Fallen is back with their sophomore release, “Echo Chamber.” DTF is the brainchild of guitarist Jon Johnson and Rey Parra, both of Sacred Warrior fame, and their debut album “Symptoms of Eternity” was released back in 2018. The Roxx Records’ release of “Echo Chamber” is July 14, just before their appearance at Immortal Fest (Part 1) this year.

Before diving into the review, I thought it helpful to reflect on the title. An Echo Chamber is defined as a room with sound-reflecting walls used for producing hollow or echoing sound effects and is often used figuratively to describe the state of media where someone surrounds themselves with information sources that support their own beliefs. Generally, this becomes a polarizing force in politics where different parties become more entrenched and not really seeking compromise or the merits of the other party.

And that is how we start the album, with the song “Echo Chamber.” Sounds of political upheaval and a lone synth set a foreboding atmosphere before the band takes off. The first opening chords are rhythmic reminiscent of metalcore or nu-metal signaling this is not rehashing Sacred Warrior material. It sounds fresh. Rey’s voice perfectly fits within the heavy swirling riffs balancing emotional edge with pitch perfect delivery. Once they get moving it has a polished 90’s heavy metal feel. Before the guitar solo, there is a break with a noodling high-end bass line demonstrating technical prowess across the whole of the band.

Starting with “Echo Chamber,” the first five songs are original DTF songs that demonstrate their wheelhouse. DTF’s sound relies on heavy rhythmic riffs and classic metal vocals with catchy choruses. Their songwriting is fairly conventional keeping space for a guitar solo after a couple of verses. There is additional development on some songs like “If it Costs Me My Life” but not to the point of being called progressive.

The vocals on the album are the highlight for me. Rey’s edgier classic metal approach balances pitch and force with keen melodic sensibility. The chorus on “Eye of a Hurricane” gets stuck in my head all the time! And there is plenteous use of vocal harmonies in choruses to add interest, most notable is the 70s-esque vocal harmonies in “Live Again” that really surprised me on how well it folds in with the metal riff.

The other defining element to DTF is their heaviness. The riffs have an emphasis on a thick sound around rhythmic riffs which often swirl around the lower registers. They vary from jumpy guitar chords in “Live Again” to the death metal-inspired riff in “Eye of a Hurricane” to the swirling verse riff for “If it Costs Me My Life.” Blended with Rey’s vocals, DTF has a solid sound of their own. The only drawback is that it can feel a bit sludgy at times.

What feels lacking in these first five songs is a solid lead/solo guitar performance. The lead guitar doesn’t come up that much, but it does add some nice color when it does such as the twin guitars in “Point of No Return.” The guitar solos were for the most part mediocre for the genre except on “If it Costs Me My Life.”

Besides the five original songs, the album has two cover songs: “Sing Along Song” originally by Stryper and “Mission” originally by King’s X. The originals of these covers highlight their lead singers and lend well to DTF’s key strength. For “Sing Along Song,” the vocals are pitch perfect and the band made it quite anthemic. “Mission” has a more bluesy sound that DTF delivered with its characteristic heaviness. Both are good covers, but make use of sustained chords which felt flatter compared to the earlier tracks.

The album ends with a calm and soothing instrumental track “Reflection.” It is an interesting end to the album because the final chord doesn’t sound final as if telling listeners, “to be continued…” Some of the marketing make mention of two upcoming releases from DTF leading me to believe there is more to come.

All in all, this is a good album with a lot to enjoy, particularly if you are a fan of Sacred Warrior and 90s era heavy metal. I am a fan of their formula of heavy riffs and excellent melodically-inclined vocals. An opportunity for them in the future is if they could tune up their lead guitar work and this would be a force to be reckoned with. You can catch them live at Immortal Fest (Part 1) in Versailles, Ohio from July 22-23, 2023 if you happen to be in the area, or already going!

Rating: 7.5/10

Written by Sean Bailey

1 – Echo Chamber
2 – Live Again
3 – Eye of the Hurricane
4 – Point of no Return
5 – If It Costs Me My Life
6 – Sing Along Song (Stryper Cover)
7 – Mission (King’s X Cover)
8 – Reflections (Instrumental)

Deny the Fallen is:
Rey Parra – Vocals
John Johnson – Vocals, Guitars
Harbor Horton – Guitars
Erik Kyr – Bass
Josh Johnson – Drums

Release Date: July 14, 2023

Record Label: Roxx Records

“Symptoms of Eternity” (LP) – 2018
“Echo Chamber” (EP) – 2023

Social Media: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify

Lyric Video for ‘If It Costs Me My Life’

Lyric video for ‘Eye of the Hurricane’

“Echo Chamber” (album promo)

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