EP review: Depredate
Location: Manteca, Muneca, la Biblioteca, California
Date of Release: 13th December
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Well! This may actually be a first for me. Usually when bands have sketchy production and/or recording the music is equally average and I’m not missing much in not wanting to listen to it ever again. This, however, does not at all belong to that stereotype. So what is it that makes this different to the large swathes of mediocre bands that have mediocre recording of their mediocre songs that they send in to our mediocre website for us to write mediocre reviews of? Well, you see it’s the sheer potential that these guys display.
Now, I’m going to start off by stating that this EP definitely has it’s flaws. Some of them are more critical than others, but overall the quality of the songwriting craft carries enough weight to lift this above average. Let’s go more in depth.
So starting with the vocals, I’m going to assume that the recording has a fair bit to do with the weakness, although he definitely sounds like he could use some sharpening up technique wise as well. His stock screams seem to be a raspy, almost black-metal high and a throaty growl that stops short of quite being a real low scream. It suits the style well, considering the elements of traditional Death Metal, more modern Melodeath and Black-Metal that are fused into the songwriting. The bass is also present and riffs along with gay abandon, not unlike the wild, unruly hair that I assume all members of Incisus cultivate for the sheer purpose of windmilling, ignoring the pleas of their girlfriends who I assume would subsequently wake up coughing hairballs as a consequence of ingesting roughly half their body weight in hair mid-sleep.
The drumming is easily the weakest link (besides the production of course), which is a shame really because the guy has some serious ability. The fills are typical DM fast tom rolls, the patterns shift seamlessly and he displays excellent rhythmic awareness, segueing between thrash beats, blasts and some more inventive beats with aplomb. The problem is the kicks. Whilst I definitely commend these guys for choosing to record live drums (lord knows that’s a rarity amongst the submissions we get), I feel as if some of the parts should have been re-done as there are quite a few sketchy sections where the kicks are horribly out of time, especially at the start of the EP. Obviously, that’s not something you want to hear, not least at the beginning of your CD. I understand time and budget constraints were probably the culprit here, but it’s a sticking point nonetheless.
I’ve saved the two best elements for last. The guitars….Oh man the fucking guitars. I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t point out the obvious Black Dahlia Murder influence, both in the high amount of arpeggiation in the riff work, the chromatic down shifts in the chord progressions and the very distinctive alternate-picked-to-legato-with-sweeps lead work that TBDM made their signature, but really, when it’s done this well I couldn’t give a rat’s arse. It sounds so fucking cool and a lot of the riffs on this EP could have come straight off Miasma. The lead guitarist has some serious chops too, the solos are wonderfully well executed; clean sweeps, not all the same pattern, a few slide taps thrown in for added colour and some tasty build up work to smooth legato phrases. Good shit.
The other thing that I found really excellent was the subtle blending of Black-Metal elements, Thrash Metal elements, Traditional Death Metal elements in amongst the large dollop of Melodeath riffery. The songs all flow really smoothly, transitions are as natural as my moobs and unlike said man-boobs, they are devoid of any hairy bits that make them distasteful to anyone with functioning senses.
Overall, what we have hear is a failure to…deliver good production. Not much else wrong, really. The vocalist could do with a bit of a technique tune up perhaps, but nothing major as his vox are perfectly serviceable. The production however, definitely needs attention. Aside from the exceedingly average drum tracking/editing in places, the solos are WAY too low in the mix, especially when the lead work is THAT good. Seriously man, lead guitarists are supposed to have massive egos and demand to be the loudest fucking thing in existence. Do your job as an arrogant, elitist axeman and ascend your god-given throne at the forefront of the mix. Also, please do me a favour and get a bigger recording budget and record more music so that I can enjoy the fuck out of it with good production values.
P.s: If I had have taken notice of the names, I would have worked a LOT of mexican jokes into this review. I truly apologise for any inconvenience me not pulling the piss out of/racially vilifying these guys may have caused you and I promise to be more attentive in future.
Lyrics: Strangely, Death Metal titles but with lyrics more commonly found in Melodic Hardcore…Interesting 7/10
Overall IPHYB Rating: 7.5/10
Enjoyment Factor: 8/10
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Chris Giacca just may be the worst writer in the world, but it doesn't matter because he probably still has a bigger audience than you, so he is by default automatically right about everything. No exceptions. He's currently writing a novel which will be uploaded in single chapter installments as spoken word on bandcamp. Physical releases will be on laser disc only, limited to 17 1/2 units. Don't ask about the half.
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