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Alright, I guess I'll start the review with saying just this: GOD DAMN!
I stumbled upon this album when I was reading other reviews for this album coincidentally. Since it got such high marks, I wanted to check it out, so I got off my ass, went down to my record store and found it, the last one on the shelves too. I payed the $10 or so for the album and got back to my house, popped in the cd and just from the first song I knew I was going to like this album. "The Calming Effect" did the exact opposite for me. It got me super pumped and started headbanging. Within the first :30 seconds of the song, it was like your favorite melodic death metal band and metalcore band had a love child, but the two stayed together and cherished what they created. It was fast, bringing with it some blast beats and cool harmonized riffs. That is the structure of the album; fast melodic riffs that don't get boring or cookie cutter riffs that have been played by every band throughout the ages.
I'll break this review into the different sections starting with guitars. Like I said, there are fast melodic riffs that don't get boring at all. The guitarists are competent for what they are doing and even harmonize the sweeps and parts of their respective solos. It's a really technical album, but it's not technical for the sake of being technical like some tech bands out today (Beneath the Massacre, Brain Drill, Origin). All the songs are over 4 minutes in length (the shortest two being both 4:09). Since this is a metalcore/deathcore record or whatever you want to call it, there are breakdowns in it, but they aren't plagued every 30 seconds in the songs. They actually hold a purpose within the songs. It's like when they are done with a really gnarly solo or just something super fast, it breaks down into something to give the listener a different sound. Like in the song "Eternally Gutted", the whole song is pretty fast and all melodic, then the breakdown shows up and makes a different sound by adding diminished qualities while the other guitarist plays off-time chugs. Also, there are a couple clean parts in the record that also give it a different feel, either at the end of a song or in the middle, then they bring back the brutality
The bass on this record is solid and plays around with what the guitarists are doing, playing the bass notes I'm assuming, but I wish I could hear it better so I can review that aspect of the record.
The drums are tight and solid like every drummer should be. He is versatile with his playing, using blast beats, the d-beat, fast thrash beats, and in the clean sections, throwing in jazz-influenced percussion that sets the band apart from their scene.
The vocals are also really good. His range is superb, bringing in lows, shrieking highs, and good mids. I like it when the vocalist will go from a high and will descend into a good low really smoothly. He doesn't utilize clean vocals, but I'd say that's a good thing cause if he were to sing, then it would ruin the album, for me at least. He does one singing part on the new record, but it somehow fits and isn't jarring. The lyrics on the album are about a civilization that basically got left behind and how they are going to rise up and take back what is theirs.
The production is a clean, crisp production. The bass drum has that clicking sound, but I like that noise for some odd reason while some people don't, I guess. You can hear everything nicely, but the bass is a little absent on the mix somewhere, but I'm sure if bass wasn't recorded, then it would sound like it had no power.
Overall, I'm going to give the record a 90/100 with -10 'cause I can't hear the bass.
Here's what you entered in the review body for copy and pasting purposes:
I rarely set foot into the realm that is considered metalcore. More often than not it's much too cliche, utilizing stylization that seems to be a cop out for every band that exists within the genre. I can, therefore, say that I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon Conducting from the Grave. I almost felt consumed by the enormity that was this band's talent, and their knack for originality. It's as if the band has rid themselves of the typical metalcore sound, which is why I would dub them more of a melodic death metal band, with some breakdowns thrown in. You know what's also quite refershing? All of the songs on this album exceed four minutes in length.
Let's start off by examining the first track of this album. I will admit, that when I clicked play and exposed myself to the first 30 seconds of the song, the first thought that came to my head was 'typical metalcore riffing'. Needless to say, I allowed the track to continue which quickly vanquished my general assumption of mediocrity; though, I digress. The song was soon impressing me with some of the most brutal, yet melodic sounding licks and runs I had ever heard. Next was the solo, which was a complete onslaught of melodic shredding, and sweep picking at its prime. It almost has a Necrophagist-esque mood, which was an indulgence all its own. Then came the second half of the song, where I found myself completely immersed in the harmonization set forth by both guitarists, which is some of the most impressive guitar-work I've heard in a while.
Now, I'll step off of my pedestal and quit bragging about the first song, which in any case could be a mere fluke of ingenuity. To be honest, I was almost under the impression that it was, but I could never be so shallow as to let stereotypical nuances affect my opinion of the nine songs that remained. Although I have nothing against evaluating each song, I'd rather not bore those reading this review. Plus, that leaves nothing to be found out for the listener.
Our next stop will be the song entitled Marching Towards Extinction, which is about half-way into the album. The intro to this song alone is enough to satisfy, but at this point you are fully aware that this band will hold nothing back. The song continues with the same onslaught of riffs, licks, solos as the others, and I think what I like best about this band is the fact that they keep changing things up. When I say that they continue utilizing every tool at their disposal, I don't mean that they use the same thing over and over. Each song is different, and each has its own climactic moment which is really what turns out to be the key to this album's originality.
Now, as I mentioned before this band does utilize the "breakdown". Which was definitely something I expected. I think what makes them so tolerable coming from these guys is that they allow the song to build up to something worth breaking it down for. Ultimately, I feel that if more bands would use the breakdown in this manner, they'd be a lot more original and much more bearable.
As inappropriate as it may or may not seem, I'll be concluding this review by critiquing the last song of the album. This 5:38 song starts with an amazing intro by executing the use of guitar harmonization to its fullest extent, but I think this song can be more accurately described by its distinctive riffs which are enticing, and very catchy. I don't think they could have ended an album such as this on a better note. In fact, I'd be surprised if their next album surpassed this one, but I won't stop hoping until my theory is proven true or false.