Conducting From The Grave

When Legends Become Dust

Written by: BL on 17/03/2009 01:20:04

Formed from ex-With Passion members and having spent the best of the last five years getting their act together with some new faces, Sacramento California's Conducting From The Grave have finally unleashed their debut in "When Legends Become Dust". Looking at the rather silly band name, album title and the album art might give an impression of what the music is going to sound like; another one of those cookie-cutter brootal-core bands that you can’t really take seriously because they expect you to get a hard-on over their image before even listening to the music. Fortunately upon a full listen this is far from the case. Stylistically the music sounds like a seamless amalgamation of melodic death metal, deathcore (don't sigh just yet you!) and tech metal, which may not sound terribly original (Between The Buried And Me anyone?), but there is an abundance of melody throughout (and not just the samey minor scale abuse from similarly themed bands but actual bright melodies too) and each of the blistering ten tracks have little repeated sections as well as tempo and time signature changes on the fly throughout to stop it sounding stale. Think a happy mix of As Blood Runs Black, Necrophagist and After The Burial.

Being a guitar player there was plenty to appreciate from the very impressive duo of John Abernathy and Jeff Morgan on offer here: everything from sweeping leads and tremolo work, razor sharp riffs that come at a relentless pace, to some incredible clean almost jazz like melodic interludes best showcased by the title track (which also has one hell of a tasty tapped lead lick) and the epic closer "Hit The Lights... Armageddon's Here". At no time do there seem to be jarring transitions from section to section that occasionally is apparent with other tech metal bands. This is partly down to the fact that everything is technical without ever overloading your ability to comprehend the slurry of notes running up and down the fretboard. It's all very well thought out and surprisingly refreshing despite the common ingredients the band throws in, including the occasional breakdown which themselves break free from the cliché of horror chords or triplet gallops.

The drums and the bass are rather in the shadow the guitar work, which takes centre stage, but are far from out of the picture. Greg Donnelly's drums are varied for the most part, blast beats, double bass pedals and some driving rock rhythms, well executed and solid. Steven Lovas follows the guitars up and down through all the songs with his bass (given the pace of the guitars as well he does a commendable job) and occasionally brings out a few licks of his own in tracks like "A Never Ending Search For Closure". A plus is that the bass is nicely in the mix instead of unnoticeable like in many other modern albums; just a testament to the excellent production of the album where everything is clear and crisp.

Lou Tanuis handles the vocal duties and he's a relatively new addition to the band since the recording of their previous EP "Trails Of The Forsaken" (incidentally the album has four songs from the EP rerecorded). Compared with the old vocals Lou has brought a much deeper and lower growl more akin to a metalcore or deathcore band instead of the high pitched screams on the EP. At times they seem slightly out of place, but they really add to the heavier darker sections of the songs - much like the lyrics which, like the song titles, seem focused on messages of a decadent world, the apocalypse and just things decaying in general, rather dark and morbid.

Are there any negative criticisms? Well I could say that they mix things about so much that like any band that try and play a million different riffs in one song it takes a while for songs to become memorable on the long run. Also the album clocks in at just over fifty minutes but with ten tracks each song is at least over four minutes, so things can get tedious if you are put off by the constant technical showcase, or if you prefer a more casual style of metal. Nevertheless I'd say that the music caters to anyone who likes heavy music, so brootal-scene-kid or plain metalhead, you'd do yourself well to give this disc a spin, at least because at the end of the day these guys still have their work cut out for them if they are to survive in this saturated scene of metal and hardcore bands appearing like the plague. But if they keep writing albums as solid as this then perhaps one day they will be an exception of their own album title


Download: When Legends Become Dust, A Never Ending Search For Closure, Hit The Lights… Armageddon’s Here.
For the fans of: Necrophagist, As Blood Runs Black, After The Burial.
Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.02.2009

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