All Shall Perish

Awaken The Dreamers

Written by: AP on 23/09/2008 01:48:19

With the ongoing exodus of bands from other territories to the promised land of deathcore, its aboriginals now face a familiar problem. How will they preserve the culture they've cultivated virtually unexposed, with opportunist newcomers marauding their every resource? If Oakland-based All Shall Perish are on to something, then it's thinking outside the box that's the key to unlocking it. It no longer suffices to write within the boundaries of the genre they helped pioneer, so they've surrendered the deathcore equation and rid themselves of the dissonance and one-o-one breakdown galore in favor of a more open-ended approach.

If you're of the opinion that the band's previous outing demanded no progression, stop reading now and save yourself the grief of dismissing every next word. What All Shall Perish have accomplished here is their finest song-writing to date. Sure, the price payed is that juvenile intensity of their past work, but "Awaken The Dreamers" puts the band where it should be, more metal than any core. The focus here is less on playing as fast and as hard as possible, and more on realizing the potential of the band's most valuable asset, its guitarists. Chris Storey and Beb Orum unleash the full extent of their instrumental prowess seemingly out of nowhere and keep the tap running for all of thirty-six minutes. Matt Kuykendall follows suite with drum patterns that skip time signatures like lessons in school and hell, Mr. Tiner on bass has his hair-raising moments, too. So, instrumentally the album leaves nothing to be desired.

Eddie's vocal performance, however, is what's most impressive. His voice seems to be able in all forms of guttural audio, in Rob Halford howling and in atmospheric singing. It's usually the guitar melodies that set the mood and tone of an album, but it's "Eddie" here. He ignores every chance to embellish his voice for an emotional chorus, constraining himself instead to a dark soundscape that gives the album its funereal character. Not surprisingly, it's in the atmospheric songs that the band sounds best. It's unusual that an album reaches its climax in the last song, but the words "it's two minutes past the midnight hour / and you hate my voice like sugar coated sour" and "'cause we let it burn and felt strength just the same / I don't care if you get it / these songs still scream your name" provide for one of the most powerful and emotional conclusions I've heard to date in "Songs For The Damned", the lyrics of which to an alert listener will reveal a tribute to a number of songs by bands like Slayer, Opeth, Cannibal Corpse, Misfits and Carcass, among others.

But while instrumentally, vocally and lyrically this album nears the sublime, it's over all too fast and leaves the listener hungry for more. So he listens to it again, which is something that every album should inspire. I just can't help thinking that there's so much more where these songs came from, and that the two brief, instrumental segments, "The Ones We Left Behind" and "Misery's Introduction", could have been included in the songs they precede to make room for two full-length tracks that aren't there now. What a tease. But such details hardly bother me with songs as good as these; I'll just toggle the repeat.

Download: When Life Meant More..., Black Gold Reign, Awaken The Dreamers, Songs For The Damned

For the fans of: Despised Icon, Parkway Drive, Whitechapel

Listen: Myspace

Release date 08.09.2008

Nuclear Blast

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