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A Step Into Black/Deathcore - 60%

Shirt_Guy, January 26th, 2009

Many knew this trend was coming a mile away, which is to say metalcore heavily influenced by black metal. Bleeding Through have had that influence for a long time, and Abigail Williams have crossed that boundary from a metalcore related band to pure black metal - though I’m sure elitists would argue otherwise due to their haircuts.

Compared to Dance Club Massacre’s previous album, “Feast of the Blood Monsters”, which was just a loose, disjointed mess of ideas with keyboards that go nowhere, while on “Circle of Death” they’ve morphed into blackened post-deathcore. Yup, that’s right, metalcore has gotten so many permutations that I need to make up titles that long. Why add the “post” to the metalcore tag? It’s for those bands that have basically ditched breakdowns, and even a few other -core elements from their sound, yet still carry over everything else from the previous metalcore entity to prevent them from becoming full-on melodic death metal, or death metal or whatnot. Dance Club Massacre certainly has the significant carryover from deathcore, such as basically stuffing in a lot of Smith blasts, adds in a Black Dahlia Murder like rasp, the the harmonized deathcore/faux death metal growls, and a hint of black metal harshness in the guitar tone, all backed up by keyboards going through most black metal keyboard staples. It’s all wrapped up with humour, right down to the 50’s horror movie whine used in one song - which was actually unexpected and extremely cool!

Unfortunately the album is also dragged down by a hint of looseness, which works against the band in this case due to the generally good recording. The snare drum tends to pop like a can a little bit, and when not covered by the guitars, those keyboards are at least two notches down from sounding like real instruments. The other lacking element is the sincerity, as you don’t quite feel the band selling their passion for black metal and humour at the same time. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that those two elements normally clash. All that said, “Circle of Death” is still a huge leap forward from their previous album, “Feast of the Blood Monsters”. Perhaps all that’s needed is some more road time and to cannibalize some of the more creative black metal bands out there to leave any semblance of deathcore behind, as many deathcore bands are already abandoning ship before the whole genre implodes on itself.

Originally posted at

You Guys Know Better - 30%

cweed, December 30th, 2008

WIthin the first few seconds, I was already rolling my eyes. Sure, "blackened deathcore" or whatever the hell they'll be calling this in a few months is still somewhat of a novelty, but come on. At this point, any band that's willing to go this far and try to convince us that they're actually "metal" and not just a bunch of "scene kids" (you know what I'm talking about) should just bite the bullet and actually play a style of metal that they can confidently proclaim as such, and not be so insecure that actual song lyrics are written to defend the band's legitimacy (see track 10).

The problem with this band is that it's obvious that they are competent musicians and are enthusiastic and hungry enough to achieve some success, but they've unfortunately decided to hop on a trend that is destined to burn out pretty quick. While on the one hand, they've got a good mix of intensity, musicianship, and humor, on the other hand they thought it would be a good idea to mix up their symphonic deathcore with the very elements that turn off those whom they are trying to impress. Breakdowns, generic raspy/growled vocals, tired riffs, and goofy lyrics don't exactly help their cause, and also beg the question- for a band that's trying to be somewhat original, surely even THEY'RE sick of this shit right?

They're are several aspects of this album that keep it from being complete crap. First, and probably most obvious, is the good production quality. The album sounds great, especially the synths, as too often I find that bands that use keyboards and/or other atmospheric instruments can tend to have a sound that is cluttered and suffocating. Not the case here. Also, the band's sense of humor can occasionally play in their favor. I found some of their lyrics to be entertaining, and they're nearly half-an-hour-long cover of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" is good for a bit of a laugh early on. Also, some of the lyrics I was actually surprised that I semi-related to-

"In the wonder years I was in my own domain. Thrashing to Phill and Mustaine. Then I picked up a CD with a pair of breasts wrapped in barbed wire...Check me out, I'm rockin' the house. I'd hope Dimmu would be proud" from "Who Are You, and What Have You Done With Six?"

Obviously, he's referring to the cover art of Dimmu Borgir's "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia," which I must admit is one of the first metal albums I ever got into, and a reference I found fairly amusing, as Dimmu Borgir is clearly one of Dance Club Massacre's biggest influences. However, I find Dance Club Massacre infinitely more annoying than even the newest Dimmu Borgir shit, and I wish someone would tell these guys that they definitely have the potential to one day develop into a legitimately good metal band, they just need to mature a bit and quit aspiring to be the next Abigail Williams or whatever.