Album Review :
Death Therapy - The Storm Before the Calm

By in Reviews | 13 Comments

Label: Solid State records
Release Date: February 21st 2017


  1. Until Then
  2. Self Mind Dead (Feat. Andrew Schwab)
  3. The Lie
  4. Wake Me (When I’m Dead)
  5. Prodigal
  6. Slow Dance (with Death)
  7. Possessed
  8. Everything Burns
  9. The Belmont Family Curse (Pt. 1: Night)
  10. The Belmont Family Curse (Pt. 2: Day)

Jason Wisdom has always been a little bit of a hero to me. Not only does he sport a healthy helping of facial hair, have a scream equivalent to a lion’s roar, and an affinity for the most underrated instrument in modern metal music, but Jason is also a top tier human being. Thinking back on some of the after show Denny’s hangs we’ve had and the way some of his lyrics have impacted me over the years always brings a smile to my face.

With the past history of Wisdom in mind, when I heard the former Becoming the Archetype vocalist was releasing a new album, I knew I had to check it out; even with such a drastic change in genre from what I had come to love with BTA. However, Death Therapy is is very intentional in its differences from Becoming the Archetype.

First and foremost, the opening track on the album, Until Then,  is sure to turn some heads of those familiar with Wisdom’s beast-like roar. Not only does the track start of with reverb laden keyboards and a plodding, heavily digitized drum beat, but Jason chooses to use a soft croon for the majority of the track. Clocking in at just under two minutes, Until Then serves not only to show listeners that Jason Wisdom is turning over a new leaf, but that this album is going to be much more than heavy industrial beats.

Self Mind Dead, is the first glimpse into what we’ve come to know Wisdom for. Hitting hard and aggressively, pulsing bass chords dominate this track with one of the fiercest riffs on the album, while the electronics serve to add ethereal and beautiful depth to the ferocity. Late in the track, Project 86 frontman, Andrew Schwab makes a memorable guest spot as his signature whisper morphs into screams, adding the extra muscle to make this track an instant metal classic.

While the opening two tracks of the album were memorable and had my interest piqued, The Lie is what made me know Death Therapy was something truly unique and special. Starting off with electronic chirps and blips sounding straight from the Bladerunner soundtrack, the track quickly progresses to some of the meanest riffs the album has to offer as Wisdom bellows, “Go!”. The Lie takes the best the band has to offer and mixes it into one complete package with tight, in the pocket drumming, decadent riffs, and an eclectic blend of electronics. Another standout aspect of the single is that Wisdom mixes up his vocal delivery a bit; choosing to stick closer to singing on the verses, while letting screams loose during the “chorus” of the track.

Next up comes the Tour de Force of Prodigal and Slow Dance (with Death), two more stand out tracks on the album. Prodigal is an industrial romp, complete with a sampled movie line to kick things off and some of the most intricately layered electronics. Additionally, the drums on the track prove that Death Therapy is not just the Jason Wisdom show, as the percussion smoothly transitions from pulsing hi-hat grooves to stop/start battering. Slow Dance (with Death) features one of the biggest bass grooves on the album, forcing the listener to bob their head as Wisdom gutturally grows, “I want to live”.

The album ends strong  with two instrumental tracks – The Belmont Family Curse (Pt. 1: Night) and (Pt. 2: Day). These two tracks are pure gems that I found myself playing on repeat throughout the day at work. Pt. 1: Night plays out like the soundtrack to a zombie massacre; starting out with haunting electronics and hellish distorted bass chords. When the battering drum beat comes in, as the listener, you can feel your heart begin to race as the electronics eerily eek out of your speakers before culminating into a full scale headbanger. On the flip side, Pt. 2: Day embraces the fun side of the electronic spectrum, choosing to unashamedly draw 8-bit influence from the Castlevania video game series (Complete with some of the random blips and beeps that filled our childhood). While feeling slightly out of place given the darker feel of the rest of the album, Pt. 2 is what embodies Death Therapy – Reinventing the wheel by whatever means they feel like.

Overall “The Storm Before the Calm” is among the strongest albums of 2017, showing a bright future and limitless possibilities for an already established metal frontman. Even if electronics are not quite in your listening wheelhouse, yet you like heavy music, do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on this unique gem.

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March 1, 2017 11:34 pm

This album is going to be a highlight for my 2017. There’s an irrefutable groove underlying the songs here and I can’t help but move with the music. The atmospheric electronics layered with big industrial beats bring early Neurotech and Celldweller to mind, in the best way. The guttural growl I knew from BtA works well with the groove and manages to be both catchy ferocious. Glad IVM was here to get this music to my ears

Chris S
March 1, 2017 5:47 am

Anyone care to give me a ‘sounds like’ recommendation? The reviews I’ve read on this album all describe it as different from BTA and ‘outside the box’ but don’t really give a RIYL of any kind. Thanks in advance!

March 1, 2017 11:37 am
Reply to  Chris S

It’s a bit like a mixture of Marilyn Manson, Suicide Silence and some of Andrew Schwab’s (or Ryan Clark’s, for that matter) electronic stuff. It’s only bass, drum and electronics, so it’s very moody, but, as with Josh Scogin’s ’68, you don’t feel the absence of other instruments. I think you could probably find a bit of the dark atmosphere on Norma Jean’s latest album as well, although the writing and style is very different otherwise.

March 1, 2017 12:49 pm
Reply to  Chris S

For a better idea, you can listen to the whole album on Spotify, or watch lyric videos for every song on Youtube. Just make sure to pick up a copy if you dig it. Thanks!

Chris S
March 2, 2017 4:38 am
Reply to  Chris S

Thanks guys! I’ll be sure to check it out . And I’ll definitely buy if I enjoy Wisdom – I’m not a fan of illegal downloads (want to support artists I enjoy) or streaming (if it’s good enough for repeated listens, I buy).

February 28, 2017 6:02 pm

Spent a long time late in the night during a drive concocting this homage to BTA:

February 28, 2017 5:25 pm

Been listening to this album for the last few days. LOVING it.

February 28, 2017 8:21 am

Like everything else Jason has released since The Remnant I find my self addicted. I love how different this is from everything else that has been released by Jason yet still very much connected. I love the 8-bit tracks a ton hoping to get more of these in the future. I plan to listen to this release a lot more to really connect with the lyrical content of this album.

Mark K
February 27, 2017 6:11 pm

Maybe this whole album will grow on me. Definitely not my normal style. The Lie is amazing, the rest I’m not so sure yet. I have my hopes for it. I will say though I’m pretty disappointed in the Castlevania tracks. Easily the greatest series in video game history (this opinion will not be disputed, you have no idea how much those were a part of my childhood!) and the most historically played of them all (just beyond MegaMan) in my childhood. The day my older brother and I beat the first game was a life moment of brotherly bonding.… Read more »

February 27, 2017 6:56 pm
Reply to  Mark K

No offense taken. Maybe it’ll help ease your pain to know that I didn’t actually set out to write a Castlevania song with metal. I just wanted to express my love for classic video games. The title just seemed right to convey that idea. But it would definitely be shooting too high to try to actually write a truly Castlevania type song.

Mark K
February 27, 2017 11:44 pm
Reply to  Wisdom

Oh, no pain involved. As someone who grew up on those games and as a 7th grade science teacher/pastor driving around a minivan with my kids listening to this I appreciate that sentiment. #dadmetal :)

February 28, 2017 9:01 am
Reply to  Mark K

I am also a 7th grade science teacher, and I also drive a minivan with my kids. Small world. #dadmetal indeed.

March 3, 2017 3:07 am
Reply to  Wisdom

If yur actualy/ realy the ” j wisdom” , then im sure im not the only 1 whos wonderin y u decided 2 go solo, as oposed 2 doin anotha solamors album or rejoinin bta? As 4 this album, i havent herd it all yet, so im not guna “scor it” yet.

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