|Maryland: a State known in the extreme music field mostly for being the homeland of legendary Annapolis's Dying Fetus. From today on things will be different. Add to your list of bands contributing to amplify and renew the boundaries of Metal the monicker of this 3-piece from Mt. Airy.
Reason is an original 11-track debut-CD that catches your attention at once thanks to its clean and extradry sounds that could make you believe this is a pre-production demo. No worry, that's no problem at all, it's just a choice of approach and style which makes them feel comfy, and also a rare example of recording: the guitar and the drums were recorded live together, rather then the drums first and then the other instruments.
The genres utilized make the style unique, even tho there are unavoidable references to other bands; let me stress out the term reference: with that I mean that a musician can be even unconsciously influenced by an amount of bands that constitute the music library of several other musicians and therefore this may cause a few parallels. Nothing to do with plagiarisms, so the great deal of acts cited later that might make arouse somebody's suspicions will only be useful to give you an idea of what their songs sound like if you didn't have a chance to listen to "Killing Time" yet.
That said, a special blend of Punk/Metal, Sludge Doom, Metalcore, Alternative Rock, Post-metal, Jazz and occasional injections of British flavor is what you have to expect from such a record.
The manifesto of the opening title track is further explained in the next tracks and one must say the lyrics are worth the purchase themselves.
The raw Punk/Metal/core of "Deception of the Masses" mixes Helmet and Dead Horse along with some high vocals on the path of Anacrusis; cool is the bass solo matched with background speeches excerpted from the TV.
"Call to War" grows slow, to then burst in a Thrash not too far from Vio-lence; later it becomes twisted and then melodic and desperate at the same time; impossible not to hear echoes of System of A Down in the clean vocals. Good is the guitar solo as well, first in the way of Marty Friedman and in the end in Yngwie Malmsteen's. It seems a pity the mastering cut the end of the song so abruptly, but that was an intentional choice in order to surprise the listener when they least expected it.
"Invincible People" mixes the guitars of the very early Voivod, the brutal vocals of the Inbreds on one side and Incubus (USA) with Muse on the other during the clean vocals, while the effective alternation of distorted/undistorted parts, rage/decadence, excitement/apathy in "Dark Moment" bring Melvins, Corrosion of Conformity and Down to the mind. The drumming is very free and sometimes recurs to Jazzy passages, but the most important thing to note is that it's curious to learn that a large dose of the trio's audience is composed by women who usually despise heavy music and probably compositions such as this are able to grab their attention.
The highlight of the record and my favorite track for sure is "Abuse", owing to a muscular main riff and a refrain that no Woodstock hippie would ever be able to conceive in 80 years of existence on high; imagine a furious orgy between Neurosis, Deftones, the Cumshots, Nozzle and Emoglobe along with Entombed-like crushing guitars and a steady Sludge doom feel!
Disease Within adore to vary their proposal and here's the explanation of a song like "Killing Time" now: the vocals are mostly very high-pitched and the structure differs from the rest, being pretty close to the 80s Classic metal (think of Iron Maiden's debut album and a slowed-down version of the 70s Judas Priest). Had it been played a bit faster, it would have been more convincing, whereas put this way it sounds a bit hard to listen to, also considering it skims 7 minutes of length.
Another well-arranged and well-lyricized song turns out to be "Modern Diversity"; the style is decidedly US metal this time and I have no doubts the main riff and the chorus will take no prisoners live; a short track, vaguely Pantera-based, but imagine the band during its lighter years before Phil Anselmo's arrival or if you know them, take Fire for Effect to ease your task of comparison, nevertheless remember Mt. Airy's combo boasts more heterogeneous vocals and a bigger amount of genres touched.
Halfway between Crowbar and early Earth Crisis, "Hypocrite" contains much more dynamism as well, as shown in a refrain of pure orgasm that might make Kurt Cobain resuscitate from his grave!
The proof that the eclectic 3 members might share the stage with almost anyone comes from "Unholy War": chips of early D.R.I., the underground extinct Punk legends No Fraud, but also No Means No with the addition of some healthy madness in the vein of Frank Zappa and G.G. Allin; the lyrics couldn't be any better, as mordant as the most politically uncorrect anti-mainstream ranter, show an uncommon ability of mocking the Catholic Church summit powers, really hung up, embarassed and in dire straits after the countless paedophile scandals come to light in the last decade.
The closure is even more difficult to imagine but believe me, it is real: put Metallica, Mars Volta, Cathedral and Fugazi into a blender and you'll get "Hollow"; amazing, ain't it? Genial? Of course! Are Disease Within excellent arrangers? You can bet on that, cos no-one ever made sinister sounds with gentle acoustic guitars coexist so damn fine!
The previous live, studio and composing experiences play a vital role in this record; a debut but devoid of the simple solutions a young band finds when writing. Physiologically the 3 musicians bear a long burden on their shoulders and this breeds compositions that will conquer you only after repeated listens. The alienated and lunatic vocals are something you cannot forget easily and tho a handful of slight imperfections in the drumwork and the mastering, the good will and the valid ideas need to be prized, so investing a part of your spare time in this platter is strongly advised. Certainly no listener can feel bored or find cheesy arrangements, nor patterns heard millions of times elsewhere before.
In a nutshell, we are dealing with a penetrating and stimulating record, not easy to assimilate, yet we require such bands to progress, otherwise we'd only repeat the past and let Metal die. Like all new things we need time to get accustomed to them and the members need time to make the comeback songs smoother. What I supposed to be a matter of money involved in the recording, mixing and mastering processes was finally a mastering choice, and mastering means entrusting the engineer to give the record character, not sound better. Alan Douches has mastered over 8,000 records, so he can feel what is right or not more than any sophisticated listener. The conclusion is that he wanted to keep the raw identity of the record and all we can say is: mission accomplished!
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - May 20th, 2009
Line-up on this record:
Mic Wynne - lead vocals, guitars
Mark Kopyc - drums and samples
Cody Hagins- bass guitar
4260 Rolling Knolls Ct. Mt. Airy, MD 21771- USA
-Killing Time (CD - 2009)