Album Review :
Deathbreaker - Disconnect
By Casey Gallenberger in Reviews | 17 Comments
With the advent of streaming, most of the Christian labels have suffered immensely. Tooth & Nail holds a lackluster roster; both Solid State and Facedown Records have seen and ebb and flow in success. Heavy music is changing. Maybe it’s not the forerunner of innovation, but most of the sixteen-year-old kids who loved As I Lay Dying and War of Ages have outgrown metalcore long ago, after it bored them all to death with what quickly became predictable breakdowns and cookie cutter “good cop, bad cop” vocals. You might say I’m opinionated.
Thankfully, Facedown is diversifying its roster. Its Dreamt label was short-lived but brought My Epic into the mainstream. Attalus and Everything in Slow Motion have brought in lighter, more experimental elements. Rival Choir helped us cope with the loss of The Chariot.
Now Deathbreaker has joined the roster – do they fit in? What can a listener expect from this band we’ve only heard about a few weeks before the album dropped?
After the dissonant, grainy intro to In Error, Deathbreaker fits nicely alongside labelmates Rival Choir. Equal parts melodic and heavy, the song has enough ambience to offset Norma Jean-esque instrumentation. Lyrics are earnest, delivered by clear fry screaming. The bar is set high.
If In Error showed some reserve, Earthbound comes out swinging in full force. It’s groovy, with some southern metal influence. It’s loud, dirty, and heavy.
The momentum is carried right into Insight, another unrelentingly-heavy track. There’s a bit more experimentation here with timing, involving a strong bassline under an otherwise-eerie guitar line. It’s definitely a more typical chaotic hardcore track, reminiscent of some of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s earlier works.
The ambience returns on Father, a brief interlude. I had hoped it would build up and carry into the next track, but sadly it drops off into silence a few seconds from the end. The silence does make the opening energy of Blink that much more abrasive, but it makes Father seem a bit pointless in context.
Blink, thankfully, pulls its own weight. It’s another groovy track, featuring occasional vocal effects and unpredictable oscillations between melody and chaos.
The Sinking follows suit. It’s along the same lines of In Error, displaying a strong melodic focus, a stronger presence of clean vocals, and fewer moments of chaos. Since these two were both released as singles, it set a precedent for the album that I’ve found to be quickly demolished – the band does melody well, but most of the tracks here seem to underutilize this strength,
Son serves as another interlude, which is very welcome. It leads into Regret, which showcases some fantastic post-hardcore moments and some of the aforementioned melodic elements.
Eclipse is a fantastic almost-closing track. I’m reminded of Defeater quite a bit. Much of the song involves instrumental looping almost half-screamed, half-spoken vocals. The band then crescendos into madness once again to finish the song off.
If you like Your Memorial’s last album, you’ll find the intro to Absence a bit familiar. Staccato guitar lines coupled with pounding drums serve as a reminder that the band hasn’t played all their cards yet. Spoken word vocals transition to screams and the instrumental unpredictability hits a high point. Unfortunately, the song dissolves to a lengthy feedback outro. It does ruin the mood a bit,
Overall, I’m sold on this album. It’s groovy, grainy, melodic, and plenty of variety otherwise. The basslines are strong. The guitars soar and scream. The vocals are intimate yet abrasive. Overall, there’s not much to dislike. I do wish the band showcased more of the ambient and clean elements and that the interludes worked better into the instrumental narrative. Nonetheless, it’s a strong reminder that Facedown records is far from finished.
The Hearts Like Lions album is fantastic. I just saw Civilian live and they really won me over. A new Aaron Sprinkle record? Artifex Pereo is killing it.
Maybe not as stacked as in the past, but I wouldn’t call T&N’s roster lackluster.
I was going to say something similar.
I got really turned off to T&N when they brought on Tyson Mostenbocker–really didn’t like what his message was. Even beyond that, I would agree that T&N has fallen off a lot. Artifex is good, but they and XXI are about all I can get excited to hear. Considering the last several years have lost The Almost, Anberlin, The classic Crime, Emery, and a few others that I would put above anything else active on the label. XXI is the only active T&N band I’ve listened to in maybe a year.
You should definitely check out that new Hearts Like Lions album – definitely reminds me of that early/mid-2000s T&N era.
I’m interested to hear what you have to say about Tyson Motsenbocker. I haven’t listened to him enough to know what his “message” is. What about it did you disagree with?
“Rival Choir helped us cope with the loss of The Chariot.” Ehhhhhh… not so much!
’68 is helping me cope with the loss of The Chariot pretty well. 🙂
Rival Choir is their own brand of awesome.
Facedown continues to impress with their diverse lineup and great selection of releases
Inevitably this band gets comparisons for being on the heavy side of things. However, I can’t pin them down. Ultimately I’m impressed with the variety of sounds they put together and look forward to hearing much more from them. This is a bright debut that I will be going back to many times to come. 4/5
Gonna have to check this out really soon. My Epic, Attalus, EISM, and Rival Choir are the only Facedown Records bands I really love so the fact that this is band is more of an outlier like them makes me really excited.
Not even a mention of Comrades, who is probably the weirdest one there, in the review.
Ooo! Forgot about Comrades! So good.
I too forgot about Comrades.
I make it a point to see Comrades whenever they come to town. So good live!
Wow. I didn’t give this band a chance at first because this was the remains of For Today (or was that another band? Either way, I assumed that which made me avoid them) for the very reasons listed in the first paragraph of the review. 10 seconds into the first song and I saved the album knowing that was the most wrong impression I could have made.
Yeah, I think Nothing Left is what you’re thinking of.
I just did a quick google search and realized that. It makes more sense now I guess. But maybe I shouldn’t just make assumptions in general