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Matt Parsons - Alas, Tyranny - 80%

MegaHassan, December 28th, 2008

This is the only demo I have heard from this band, and I don't feel that it's necessary to waste a paragraph on the production and the guitar playing on this demo because my thoughts concerning those two aspects of this recording have already been pointed out rather profusely by the other 6 reviewers. Just for the sake of it, though, I'll mention that the riffs are well constructed (especially that killer tremolo riff that comes at 4:05 in Breath of Deliverance and just about every riff in Prometheus) and the drum programming is among the best I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. The production is too good to be on a “demo” and would sound good on an EP or a full-length. It's polished but not too dense and doesn't have the cluttered feel of many other modern extreme metal acts.

Now that I have gotten that part of the review over with, I can focus on the music. Matt Parsons blends elements of melodeath and symphonic black metal to create a sound that isn't unlike that of Dimmu Borgir. However, Matt Parsons lets his music retain a sense of rawness and doesn't sugar coat his music with “pop-ish” sections that most modern extreme metal acts love to do. Yes, they are catchy, that can not be denied. But the execution here makes Matt Parsons stand apart from bands like Kataklsysm. The music has a strange visceral feel to it which may not be noticeable to the untrained ear.

The songs here are pretty varied but they are not without flaws. The Dragons has a useless acoustic section near the end, and The Breath of Deliverance would sound ten times better without those useless acoustic parts in it. And that solo in Defiance feels really, really out of place...

The vocals are a hit and miss affair. The low growls are carried out proficiently and the song is instantly made two times better when the growls make a short appearance. But the black metal tinged screams leave a lot to be desired. I cannot feel any emotion in the screams and they sound pretty mechanical and forced at times, to be honest.

Despite the negatives, Matt Parsons has a good future ahead of him. His music makes the more famous modern metal acts appear like a bunch of posers. I recommend this demo to any fan of metal, regardless of his favorite genre. I myself am not a fan of bands like Dimmu Borgir and Children of Bodom, but Matt Parsons music can be enjoyed by almost any metalhead.

Solid Work - 60%

Marwyn_Blackstar, December 8th, 2008

I received this copy of Matt Parsons latest release to do a review, and I must say that for a roughly 20min EP it's not bad. That said I don't just think it's overly amazing either. While I cannot complain at all about the clarity of the recording or the proficiency of the musicianship. Which is all excellent. There are just a number of critiques I would like to offer.


There are good and bad things and I'll start with the bad. The variety of the styling of the songs shows that Matt can play a variety of styles; but at the same time also tends to draw away from the music in my mind, I like to see releases as solid and coherent and this one is a bit too drifting for my tastes. Also the drum programming kinda roughs me, I mean it's not that it's programmed bad or anything but it's almost too refined in sound quality and makes it sound even more hollow to me than a rough program.


On the bright side the guitar work is very proficient and probably the most enjoyable part of the entire piece (even if I don't think it always fits in with the rest of the music) and definitely makes me want to recommend this for anyone who is into modern metal guitar.


All of this said there is definitely nothing to be found here for someone looking for some old school worship it is indeed a piece of modern metal I feel could be very enjoyable for fans of bands like Kataklysm or Dimmu Borgir (newer). My final opinion is that it's good and solid for what it is and I wouldn't be surprised to see Matt's name appear in the future in the more mainstream metal circles.
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Rating is to be viewed as a 3/5

Choice Cuts: Defiance, Prometheus

Great beginnings - 80%

doomgrind, August 29th, 2008

One thing that stands out about The Matt Parsons Band, a newly formed death/black metal outfit, is the professionalism displayed in his material; Alas, Tyranny sounds like an EP put out by a long running band, not a newly formed solo project.

The music present on this demo is played with great technical proficiency - the guitar work is extremely tight, production is clear and sharp, and the quality of the drum programming is superb; the flow of the drumming didn't so much as hint that the drums were artificial, and the machine-like precision only added to the intensity of the music. The guitars are clean enough that the riffs can shine through in all their pummeling glory, but distorted enough to give the album a layer of heaviness that combine with the drums to create thoroughly heavy, engaging pieces of music. The semi clean, semi distortedness of the guitars also serves to add plenty of Amon Amarth style melody. As for the vocals, they fit in seamlessly with the music; the range employed here includes a deep throaty, death metal growl and a dessicated black metal shriek. Tracks like "The Dragons" are superb, with it's alternating growl-shriek duo, and "Defiance" for its melodic thrashiness, but the standout would definitely have to be "Prometheus", with its epic, sweeping barrage of riffs and propulsive drumming combined with subtle synths floating in the background.

If Alas, Tyranny is anything to go by, the Matt Parsons Band has a bright future ahead of it. Don't be surprised if you're browsing through the catalogue of Nuclear Blast when you come across this name!

I wish Matt Parsons was in my band - 78%

Muloc7253, August 20th, 2008

This is the only recording I've heard of The Matt Parsons Band, but through the magical music provider known as the internet I've heard other demos aswell as other projects featuring this young guitarist, such as Jenovah and Sacrosanct. While his music could be criticised for perhaps being overly melodic, or not entirely original, it's undeniable that everything he's ever been involved with has been way above any set standards in terms of songwriting and professionalism.

The description of this band might be slightly unfair, I don't really hear much black metal in this at all. Instead, what we have is good, sometimes quite technical melodic death metal with catchy riffs and good soloing. None of the tracks get the slightest bit boring due to the variation in each song, tempo changes and such. Sometimes the music is pretty ferocious, with harsh, shrieked vocals and speedy drumming, and sometimes the band drops into a more mellow, more melodic style, still accompanied by harsh vocals but with a much more layed back instrumental, which keeps this demo constantly interesting.

All the musicianship is above the level of competence, and so coupled with the powerful songwriting The Matt Parsons Band manage to craft some brilliant song on Alas, Tyranny. I'm looking forward to a full-length, it would be good to have a fully produced, 40 minute album of this highly well-written and well performed melodic death metal, so look out for this band in the future as I believe they're recording something in the studio right now.

REALLY good; big improvement over the first - 83%

Noktorn, May 14th, 2008

I reviewed The Matt Parsons Band's first demo, 'A Moment Of Clarity', about half a year ago. It was a good release; extremely well-produced, perfectly played throughout, and having some very solid songwriting to back up its production values. At the same time, the tracks did tend to slip my mind after a while, and I felt that sole member Matt Parsons could have gone a bit further with the arrangement of the various instruments to really take this project to the next level. I can safely say that with 'Alas, Tyranny', Matt Parsons has achieved and exceeded that level. This demo is an improvement in nearly every way over the previous, and is filled with memorable songs and even bigger promise for the future of this artistic endeavor.

The Matt Parsons Band's sound has become more defined, and can be described fairly accurately as a combination of Abigail Williams (minus the -core), Amon Amarth, and newer Keep Of Kalessin. The production quality has somehow gotten even fuller and clearer, making the already professional 'A Moment Of Clarity' sound like 'Transilvanian Hunger' in comparison, and Parsons' playing has gotten yet another step better (though it was hardly slouching before). But really, the main improvement in the songwriting and delivery: the riffs are snappier, the vocals more vicious, and the insidiously catchy nature of the songs stay with you for long after the demo's run its course. Parsons has managed to combine the symphonic elements present in his style with the melodic black/death he specializes in to great effect, and this feature has been even more improved: a burst of violins and sweeping orchestral arrangement will always burst in at just the right time to give a rush of epic intensity to already driving and powerful songs.

Standout moments: the beginning of 'Defiance' is great, with a thrashy opening riff passing into a Gothenburg inspired passage that manages not to suck! 'The Dragons' concludes with an acoustic passage right off of Keep Of Kalessin's 'Armada', soaked with Mediterranean melody and perfect tonal reproduction. But really, they all just bow down at the altar of 'Prometheus', a totally sweeping and majestic piece of symphonic black/death metal that would sound right at home on Abigail's 'Legend' EP, with heavy and melodic riffing merging with organically implemented symphonic elements and just as naturally composed vocal lines and drum programming. The end result is absolutely stunning and the best example of natural songwriting this side of Zargof; the whole demo is massive and I'm amazed this artist isn't signed already.

I guess that if there's any accusation you could level at this music, it's that it's pretty mainstream and accessible music, but honestly, with composition this fantastic and memorable throughout, I can't even think of that as a problem. Of course this is the sort of thing you'd hear on Nuclear Blast, but in many cases that isn't a bad thing, and in the case of Matt Parsons, it's very good. Keep an eye out for this band when he's opening for Symphony X in three years and remember that I told you it'd happen first!

I've heard this all before - 60%

windsofwar, April 15th, 2008

One thing I can really say is that the demo is overall very well produced, the sound quality is crystal clear, and if I hadn't read that it was simply a demo, I would have thought that it was a professional recording.

Despite that, the songs themselves leave quite a lot to be desired. Each is comprised of several riffs and slightly sub-par growling vocals that bring on a sense of deja-vu for anyone who's ever listened to any metal album released after 2000. Backed by rarely-changing 32nd notes on the bass drum, and most often a major third harmony, the majority of the songs are hardly progressive, despite the fact that "progressive" is listed under Mr. Parsons' genres on his myspace page.

Now to break down two songs in particular:

Starting with "Defiance", my least favorite track on the demo. The song structure is predictable to say the least, with new ideas being introduced exactly as the listener expects them. The guitar solo is also uninteresting, as it sounds like a guitar excercise rather than a thought-out melodic solo.

Now there is one that I rather enjoyed, "Prometheus". If we look past the keyboard intro that reminds one of a Nintendo 64 game, then the song is actually quite listenable. The aforementioned riff is really pretty cool, and there are some nice interesting harmonies, though the song overall does follow the generic structure I listed before. Parsons creates an interesting vibe in this song by using some of his different screaming tones, giving the listener the feeling that different characters are talking throughout the song.

In short, Matt Parsons has some potential, but should perhaps expand his influences. I wonder if he could get any Helstar or YJM's Rising Force in the collection to mix in with his new-age influences?

Alas, Tyranny - 86%

Zephyrus, January 30th, 2008

It’s Opeth! It’s Emperor! No…it’s The Matt Parsons Band! Steamrolling out of Athens, Georgia, this solo project intends to make its mark on the underground. I received a free copy of his 2008 demo CD, Alas, Tyranny, directly from Matt Parsons himself. Onto the review then.As the opening interjections indicate, this project draws influence from the full spectrum of modern extreme metal. Metal-Archives.com labels it as “Symphonic Black/Death Metal”, which is appropriate for a band like Crionics. Matt Parsons, however, only comes close to this classification on the final track “Prometheus”, where a melody of synthetic strings sing over a crushing wall of guitar energy. So what genre does this band fall under? To determine that is an injustice because this demo sounds like four completely different bands; one for each song. That’s a good way to avoid being called generic, but not to be praised for cohesion and focus. Even within some songs, the mishmash of styles seems to interrupt the flow. Keyboard interludes and acoustic sections, while good for catching your breathe, feel somewhat unnecessary in the context of the song. It’s hard to identify core themes to the music. But it’s a useful method to put out a demo showcasing a range of styles, so that with feedback you can select your strongest direction. Each of these songs represents a possible path that is just as promising as the other three (personally, I would choose the symphonic death metal of “Prometheus”).

In regards to the sound, nothing short of a top notch production graces this demo with clarity, heaviness, and atmosphere. Vocals range from high to low growls, and are well-practiced, though not very unique (somewhat reminiscent of Vintersorg). The drum programming is done so well that one could be easily fooled into thinking it was a human producing those beats. Hiring a live drummer for the debut album is still recommended. The highlight is undoubtedly in the guitar section, where technical skill meets a flare for melodic leads and thrashy riffs.

Pay attention to this band if you are a fan of modern extreme metal, but be wary if you are an old-schooler. The Matt Parsons Band writes nothing but fresh material that represents what metal sounds like today. Check this band out if you like later Opeth, Dark Tranquillity, and/or Dimmu Borgir. But indeed there’s something here for everyone who has confidence in the current state of metal. And if not, be glad there are bands like these who can deliver inspiration to fans worldwide.