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An unnoticed death metal gem of 2010 - 92%

ProjectDissection, January 1st, 2011

These Are They - Disposing of Betrayers
The End Records - September 2010
By Jason Wick

Death metal is a genre that has been struggling to lyrically expand itself since its inception, and for the most part it has failed. Typically we will find ourselves exploring very similar, clichéd subject manner every time we listen to a death metal release. Enter Disposing of Betrayers, the sophomore release from These Are They with lyrical concepts based around the history of organized crime in Chicago that would remind most of a raging sax over a jazz guitar and suddenly we have something fresh, yet fitting for death metal. I accepted this breath of fresh air quite eagerly, and was also pleasantly surprised by the intelligent detailing found within the words framework.

Musically this album hits quite hard, being rather reminiscent of the catchy approach to brutality that Swedish bands like Carnage and Dismember made popular in the early 90’s, with hints of Morbid Angel from the same time period. This old school approach combined with the fresh lyrical concepts displayed in this release nailed quite the sweet spot for me. Hitting heavier than the acts freshman release, the listener is pummeled by thrashing, brutal riffs performed with precise, thought out patterns laced within memorable, catchy song structures. There are a couple short periods on the album where your attention isn’t held as well as the rest of the release does, but overall the writing affectively keeps you enthralled throughout.

Vocally we witness the power of Paul Kuhr’s guttural prowess. Deep and strong, his growls continue to stand out as some of the best in the genre. On Disposing of Betrayers his enunciation, while still strong, takes a back seat to the brutality. This is especially noticeable on the heavier tracks the release has to offer. Combine these vocals with the experienced polish provided by the Novembers Doom / ex-Novembers Doom members and you have the makings of one very strong package, add in the excellent song structures and we have an experience that is contending for my pick of metal album of the year.

In conclusion, These Are They showed us a lot of potential with their freshman release, and now with Disposing of Betrayers they have capitalized on said potential, improving tenfold on an already strong standing. This sophomore release offers an experience that is both ambitious, and holds true to old school tendencies within the genre they have successfully invaded. These Are They is contending with all the big names within death metal from this moment on.

- My review originally posted on Ultimate Metal -