Song review: Visions
Band: Dawn of Leviathan
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Date of Release: 31st October 2013
So anyone who is an avid follower of our rantings on IPHYB
probably knows that there are a few genres that I am automatically pre-disposed towards liking straight of the bat. At the top of the list is probably Tech-Death, so straight away, I’m probably going to like this song a lot, but there is a massive difference between good Tech-Death and the more average exponents of the genre.
I’m going to kick things off by going off on a bit of a tangent. What is it exactly that separates the wheat from the chaff in relation to Tech-Death, when by and large the majority of it’s makers have excellent technical skills, keen melodic sense and no small amount of songwriting ability? Well, see that’s the tricky part. In any genre, the bands that stick out for me are the ones that have a little bit of a different take on the genre than your average group does. They might have a truly exceptional member, might successfully work in some interesting elements from other less commonly related genres or outside of that, just be memorable and catchy with strong hooks. Most of these criteria are transferable to any genre, but in a field of play like Tech-Death, due to the inherent quality on display, it becomes that much more crucial. For instance, in a genre full of say..8/10’s, then an 8/10 almost becomes par, or equivalent to a 5/10. This is a whole philosophical argument for another time, but it is nonetheless a little bit of an insight into the struggles inherent in reviewing music of this ilk.
Anyway, moving on from the ramblings of an amateur internet reviewer, let’s get into some substance, shall we? The first thing that I really noticed when I pressed play on this tune was the length. 6:22. So straight away, you would assume that we are in Progressive territory, which is not exactly 100% true. I feel as if the Progressive tag gets thrown about a bit lightly for my liking. To me, a song is encroaching on Progressive grounds when the song is allowed to make it’s own journey through the soundscapes, unburdened by any strict adherence to a specific genre. It’s therein that lies my qualms with a Progressive tag on this song. There is synth, which doesn’t make it Prog. There is plenty of long-winded solos which also doesn’t make it Prog. What is absent, that I would definitely consider Prog, is a lot of thematic variation. As it stands, this song is nearly 6 ½ minutes of the same chord progression, most of which is there as a foil to the near-virtuoso guitar work on display.
Why did I say near-virtuoso? Well, you see, whilst impressive, clean and swift, the lead playing lacks a few fundamental elements to what I would consider truly virtuosic. I know it is Tech-Death and subtlety is almost a moot-point, but if you are going to dedicate such a large section to a sweep-heavy guitar solo, I honestly think there should be a bit more attention paid to the lead up parts. The sweeps themselves are exceptionally well executed, the slide taps and everything else really presenting some solid evidence that this guy is an immensely talented guitarist, I just feel that the composition could have been a little more interesting.
The vocals are another area that I feel require some work. The lyrical flow is quite stilted at times and somewhat poorly overlaid in others. The vocals are quite low in the mix, which I am getting the feeling was deliberate in order to bring the guitars to the fore. The vocal quality itself is a little underwhelming too. The highs sound a little weak, especially in comparison to the mids. The vocals in general have a strange quality that I can’t quite put my finger on. Whatever it is, it certainly didn’t endear me to them.
As is the custom in Tech-Death, the drums are excellent. You really can’t get away with not having fantastic drums in this genre and these guys certainly don’t miss out in that respect.
So all in all, whilst this song is ostensibly enjoyable, underneath the veneer lies a few issues which I feel are in dire need of rectification. I honestly see a massive amount of potential in this band, so I’m eager to listen to what they release in the future.
Bass: not present, Miss/10
Lyrics: the world is fucked/10
Overall IPHYB Rating: 7.5/10
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