Band: As They Sleep
Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: November 22, 2010
Review By: Steve
1. Oracle of the Dead
2. To the Republic
3. The Third Reich
4. Bedlam at the Nile
5. The Darkest Ages
7. The Offering
10. God of War
11. The Unseen
“Wow” is all I can say about As They Sleep’s new album! In short, I can sum this album up in one word, “FANTASTIC!” This five-piece death metal band out of Detroit has made one of the best albums of 2010. If you have ever been to Detroit, you have surely noticed that it is a blue-collar city through and through, and I cannot think of a better band or album for that matter that represents those blue-collar roots. One of my favorite things about it is that Dynasty is not deathcore! I love a good, brutal breakdown as much as the next guy does but at some point, the music has to be about more than just breakdowns. As They Sleep follows up a good but relatively unknown debut album Blacken the Sun from 2008 on Luxor Records with an extremely good concept album in Dynasty. The concept in short, is based on the rise and fall of nations.
In Blacken the Sun, you could tell As They Sleep had talent musically and vocally, but the production was kind of rough so you really could not tell just how much talent and potential they had. Right from the get go with Dynasty, As They Sleep blows the doors off. What Dynasty shows that Blacken the Sun does not is that As They Sleep are also very technical. The only thing better than death metal is technical death metal! With so much of the metal genre being overrun with the ‘core subgenre, it is extremely refreshing to listen to some good old “tech death.” Dynasty is full of tight drumming and technical riffs.
Vocally, Aaron Bridgewater really stepped up his game. He was good in their previous album; but, he is so much better in Dynasty. He has your classic deep, throaty growls and then mixes in a higher pitched scream. He has total control of his vocals throughout the album and it never sounds like he is straining or trying to take his vocals to a place they should not be. One of the things I like best about his vocals is displayed in “To The Republic” where he growls, “If logic is the money of the” and then immediately follows with a high pitched scream of “mind.” (In case that was confusing, the complete line is “if logic is the money of the mind”). He does a lot of following up a low growl with an immediate high-pitched scream. I know many death vocalists do this, but I think Aaron has to be one of the best at it.
I do not really have a favorite track on Dynasty because all of the tracks are really good. There is one instrumental, “Ritual,” on the album that kind of serves as a chance to catch your breath. This album is brutal from start to finish.
Overall: This is one of the best pure metal albums released this year. It is hard to believe that a band with this much talent could slip through the cracks for so long, but they are here now and ready to kick your teeth in. With the pummeling drums to the nasty riffs, Dynasty lays a good old-fashioned beat down on you. If you love death metal, do yourself a favor and go buy this album when it comes out on Monday November 22.
RIYL: Becoming the Archetype, Zao, The Famine, Embodyment
On a side note, I think this album has some of the best artwork I have seen in a long time. Ryan and Don Clark of Invisible Creature out did themselves.