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Don't Expect Anything New - 70%

ExNihilos, April 22nd, 2010

Californian technical death metal has a pretty staple sound: it's fast, brutal, and a serious amount of wank. This sort of death metal is starting to get really tiring, but it still has its moments. Of What's To Come is a prime example of this. Deeds Of Flesh employ the same aforementioned style that they're known for and helped popularize, and while Of What's To Come is pretty predictable, it's got some interesting ideas buried under it's sleek metallic skin.

The first thing any listener should notice is the squeaky-clean production. Some death metal fans aren't big on this mechanical, ultra-calculated and refined sound. For me it completely depends on the subject material and what the band was going for. If there's a degree of atmosphere in the music where such production techniques would fit, then I'm all for it. The biggest problem with it is that it lacks any and all aggression, and that is a problem on On Of What's To Come. It's really hit or miss with different tracks. This sound works quite well on tracks like “Virvum,” “Century Of The Vital,” “Harvest Temples,” and “Eradication Pods” where you can feel the sky lighting up with the multicolored flames and weaponry of alien warships. However on some tracks this doesn't work at all and I feel like I'm actually listening to a bunch of computerized guitar noises. This is most noticeable on “Dawn Of The Next” where the guitar manages to get downright annoying at times. The production and the concept album-style lyrics about space and humanity's place within a greater, much more destructive universe work well together (although one could argue that it has become quite cliché). Another thing to note is that the last song on the album, “Infecting Them With Falsehood” doesn't follow the concept at all and really doesn't serve as a good closing track.

The bass also does a great job of accompanying the guitar and vocals. It's audible on nearly every track (unlike in previous Deeds Of Flesh releases), and it's clearly not just trying to be a third guitar like it is in most metal bands. The high pitched basslines take away from the foundation that this album is seriously lacking, but really add to the “high-tech/post-apocalyptic space war” vibe that Of What's To Come has going for it. The drumming is also pretty run-of-the-mill with the generic death metal fills, blast beats, and double bass littered throughout. There's plenty of neo-classical solos to admire here, and although sometimes they delve into Necrophagist wankery, they fit some tracks quite well. The vocals are also, as with the drumming, completely average. Everything you'll hear has been done before, even by Deeds Of Flesh. I still can't stress enough that there's literally nothing unique here.

All in all this album is pretty standard. A bit above average thanks to the unique basslines and few tracks where the production works, but the weak rhythmic foundation on Of What's To Come really detracts from the overall sound. Those strengths and weaknesses place it firmly in the typical niche of Californian technical death metal and I don't think Deeds Of Flesh is going to deviate any time soon.