Through The Eyes Of The Dead

Skepsis

Written by: BL on 07/02/2011 19:11:04

Back in 2005, Through The Eyes Of The Dead were deathcore front runners with their debut album "Bloodlust". It was an uncompromising marriage of At The Gates melodic death metal with metalcore, choosing more to focus on impressive guitar work instead of the breakdown-laiden material you might see more commonly today. They followed that up after some member changes in 2007 by releasing "Malice", which stylistically drew out more of the technical melodic death metal side and pushed the deathcore tendencies more to the back. It was certainly fresh for trying to take the genre outside it's comfort zone and was solid in every department. Now finally we come to three years later (at the time of release) and we have the third album "Skepsis".

"Skepsis" at first doesn't sound all that different to "Malice". The tempo of the songs, the manic guitar riffs, the dissonant melodies and the occasional rumbling breakdown all sound pretty familiar. This album again came at the end of some member changes, notably the lead vocalist, one of the guitarists and drummer, however musically the difference is not so great to notice and in fact the new members do a good job - the drummer following up the last record's impressive percussion display fairly adeptly. The production seems to have been a little wanting though, whereas "Malice" had this super thick and pronounced, and almost crunchy sonic texture that made it sound as good as it did as much as everything else. On "Skepsis" we have a somewhat hollower sound, the guitars are a little less crisp and clear, and the drum tones are significanly lacking in punch. With this album being self-produced I suppose one can see the difference that process can have on how an album is going to sound.

"Dementia" is a fairly decent opener to the album ("Parasite Throne" being a quiet instrumental intro) with some dark and grisly riffs and chugging guitars backed by the technical drumming and death growls, but not forgetting that the band's strength is still utilising those harmonised melodic guitars where it counts. "Perpetual Defilement" comes with a bit more tempo, and heavier guitars and more caustic guitar riffs that grind and slice away with a fair amount of malevolence, then offers to switch it up with hints here and there of neoclassical metal influences, before reinviting the brutal aspects. The melodies in this song are particularly strong and actually do a good job of showing the strange contrast between the lighter and the heavier parts but also how the transitions between them are quite smooth at the same time - a theme carried over to great effect on "Inherity Obscurity". "The Manifest" has an odd, mellow and wandering introduction but before long results in the same smattering of riffs and blast beats, only bringing back the same part in question at the end. Highlights elsewhere are somewhat hard to come by, "Defaced Reality" has some cool groove based riff sections that are too momentary and deserve to be fleshed out a little more instead of having more breakdowns. "Siphonaptera From Within" similar has a great introduction with rich guitar instrumentation, and while the verse has a far melodic feel, feels all too familiar and recycled when it brings back memories of The Black Dahlia Murder's earlier days. The album titled track ends proceedings on a slightly muted note, failing to really excite the listener until the last hurdle, which just happens to be a breakdown.

"Skepsis" is simply a solid yet rather unspectacular album for "Malice"-era fans of Through The Eyes of The Dead, and people who have a hankering for more melodic deathcore instead of the usual mind numbing chuggery of acts like Chelsea Grin (ugh.). I really don't think though there will be much here that those of you who have heard "Malice" will find new or particularly memorable in the long run. It certainly passes for a few decent spins if you're into the genre because like I've made out - nothing is done too wrong and the band's self produced effort is a commendable one, but nothing more.

6

Download: Dementia, Perpetual Defilement, Inherit Obscurity
For the fans of: The Black Dahlia Murder, Rose Funeral, At the Throne of Judgment
Listen: Myspace

02.02.2010
Prosthetic Records

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