Music is such a wonderful gift….”it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us” – Martin Luther. I love this quote by Shakespeare – “The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.” Music evokes emotion, it can set the pace and desire of those emotions, and thus is one of the most powerful weapons or tools that God has given us access too.
So can a melodic death metal band out of South Carolina fit in both those quotes above,…. “delightful presents” and “concord of sweet sounds”. Well join me, and let’s see.
Okay to start off, no matter how many times I try and close my eyes picturing that this is a lady that is singing on this record, I can’t, in fact it blows my mind that a lady is singing (not being prejudicial here). In fact it blows my mind! Missi Avila (vocalist) leads the band powerfully with her no surrender vocal gifting. Shadowing their reverb bio notes “…. proving that female death metal vocals can be just as brutal as the opposite gender.” Watching a music video of theirs, she exudes confidence and presence, which often one is unable to capture on an album, but seeing the video, and then re-listening to the album you can pick up on that, and get a better picture of the level of conviction she sings with, and believe me if singing death metal vocals was an arm wrestling match, she’d would crush many a man’s ego. Taking again from their artist bio on reverbnation, “…Coca Avila and Chase Crouch (guitars) carry the band through ear catching leads and harmonizing riffs. Daniel Todd (drums) has been with the band since its early beginnings and is making a name for himself as one of the best metal drummers in the genre. Josh Crawley (bass), newly added to the band has added extra depth and talent to YCTD in just a few short months.” I cannot say it better.
Their first release on Red Cord Records In 2011 entitled ‘Suscitacio Somnus’, recorded and produced by Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, The Human Abstract, For Today) received some very strong reviews and topped Itunes and FYE stores as best selling metal album in its first week. So will “The American Dream” do that again? The competition is stiff out there now, lots of guys are playing some very high grade melodic death metal, and just like the over-bloated metal-core scene, to stand above the crowd to offer something different is not any easy thing to achieve in this genre, there are a lot of talent musicians out there. One of the true tools to success, is hard work, and to their own admission on their bio, and the surrounding commentaries of the band this is something they seem to do well. The results show both musically and from the pure numbers of supportive likes and fan-ship on Facebook, Reverbnation and Myspace, to the combined total being as this review was written, 77,623 . That is pretty impressive in my books.
Overall first impression; Well like I said, a chick that can swing it out with the dudes in this genre and place knockout blows to the head with almost every throw-down with her vocals, certainly even as a novelty this would be impressive, but she ain’t no novelty, she’s the real deal, so kudos to Missi. I mean I would never class myself a huge fan of death metal, but, honestly this got my attention. This album is filled with rapid drum blasts, nitrous fuelled, atomic powered guitar playing, and a vocal power that leaves you in awe. It was a truly fun listen from beginning to end, no doubt.
So let me explore some of the songs that caught my attention. Love how Track 1 (Ba’Ca (The Weeping)) starts with an epic introduction that’s sets perfectly the mood of the fire-flood battle about to be brought upon the ear drums. Great lead guitar work, some great drumming, its really heavy, yet so melodic and gives an air of adventure and drama, mixed with a bit of thrill. If you going to do an intro for the album, you got to go epic, and its got to draw the listener in, else it can be a massive fail and its got to be the pulling of the hammer back for the mighty blow to follow, and The Chance To Die I believe gets that right to a large degree. So track 2 (Kolotajem (Religious Salvation))brings forth the onslaught of machine gun guitar riffs, machine gun drumming, and though this is death metal, and a lot death metal bands can drown their own talent in the heaviness, these guys avoid that, and they hold the songs strong with a melodic overtone…still in disbelief that its a lady on vocals….I cant sing like that, not even with my morning voice. Track 3 (Renenet (All Consuming Wealth)) continues the attack, though the songs run with similarities, and do not differentiate from one another all too much, they never lacking of good skill. Listening to some of the lead guitar work, there is some serious skill. I think the power and energy would be better captured in a live setting, and seeing the manic drumming in action should be something to watch, but that aside I think they do fairly alright, well the production guys who mixed it, did a good job of capturing the intensity and raw energy of the songs…..still can’t believe its a woman on vocals. Track 4 (Aphrodisia (Flaming Lust)) starts with a melodic lead guitar intro, that sets up nicely for the assault. The sound is big, and full, the drummer really is good, and must be super fit, or not entirely human. This a very tight and solid unit with lots of melody that shows these guys are not just about waking the dead, but also putting on a good show. I enjoy track 7(Woq’ochaj Rax) a lot, almost like a waltz, Some neat guitar maestro-ing, and if I just played you the intro, you’ll never know these guys are a death metal band, and all you death metal haters might say this is hot-stuff – so that should teach one, just because I guy plays in a punk band, or a death metal band, does not mean he don’t have skill, and truck loads of it, in this case. My favorite track is track 8 (Oscuridad (The Darkness)) , its got like a speed metal / thrash metal feel to it, but don’t be fooled its still primary a death metal song, just a rocker of one, its kick butt good. The vocals, guitars, drums are all on form here, and the machine gun blasts would be so epic in a live setting, having the stage lights work in tandem for a greater effect. If you gonna listen to a track on the album this is the one I would say go and give a listen first too. Once its melted your face off, then go listen to the others.
In conclusion, this is maximum face melting inducing death metal, that carries strong melodic influences enhanced by some great lead guitar work……still can’t believe its a woman on vocals!. Dudes just for that give it a listen, and mind your jaw don’t drop to hard against the floor. Death metal aside, any real lover music, and a love for musicianship would concur that there is mad skill on this album. What more can I say, but go give it a listen, and make your own decision from there…..man still can’t believe its a woman on vocals! Mad skills!
Ba’Ca (The Weeping)
Kolotajem (Religious Salvation)
Renenet (All Consuming Wealth)
Aphrodisia (Flaming Lust)
Conscience (The Great I am)
Oscuridad (The Darkness)
Virus (Suffocating Addiction)
Acedia (Spiritual Complacency)
Missi Avila – vocals
Coca Avila – guitar
Chase Crouch – guitar
Thomas – drums
Your Chance to Die Demo [Demo] 2008
Verdict for the Gods [Full-length] 2009
Verdict for the Gods [EP] 2009
Suscitatio Somnus [Full-length] 2011 [review]
Record Label: Red Cord Records, June 2013
Lyric video below for: ‘Conscience [The Great I am]’