Conducting from the Grave: Revenants

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Conducting from the Grave: Revenants
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Conducting from the Grave: Revenants
Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore
Sumerian Records
October 26th, 2010
Release length: 44:20
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Conducting from the Grave formed back in 2003 in Sacramento, California. This Melodic Death/Metalcore act initially broke up in 2006 due to the forming of , a short lived project that led to the resurrection of this band and their record deal with Sumerian Records in 2009 for their debut full-length, When Legends Become Dust. About a year and a half later, the band went back into the studio and issued this release, the follow-up to their well received debut, entitled Revenants, which seems to take some ideas from the suffocating Deathcore scene, and waters them down slightly to a Metalcore approach that is nicely mixed with Melodic Death Metal hooks and intensity. And, for what it is, the combination works nicely.

Much of the music found on this recording is a nice combination of both Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore, having a stronger focus on the Melodic Death metal sound, though some lighter, more generic Metalcore does seep it’s way into the recordings. Though the Metalcore material may not be all that fresh or exciting, it adds nicely to the flow, and sometimes, like in the case of the first track, “And Our War Will Dawn”, adds to the catchiness and hooks of the recording due to the expecting drumming, though there’s not much two-step being focused in the recording, and breakdowns do exist, sometimes more then just one, which is the case with this track, which houses two. The thing about the breakdowns of this recording is that many of that suit the music nicely, keeping the intensity and flow of the song alive while feeding into the general guidelines of Metalcore compositions. The only thing that really hinders the breakdowns of this recording is the various build ups to the breakdown, which is typical to have for many bands of the style, but it brings the music to a very slow crawl before hammering into a breakdown. Of course, while the breakdowns are good, they aren’t good enough to move mountains, so having these slower introductions leaves the music open for a pounding, heavy, larger then life breakdown, but instead you just receive a good breakdown that isn’t all that jaw dropping but works.

Of course, not every single breakdown on this recording is fantastic, as some can be overly simple, and eventually they become more like an overly used tool due to how many times they appear in a single song for each and every song. But, considering some of the Deathcore input that appears here and there, it’s not necessarily something unexpected since that style can also often abuse the breakdowns. One of the biggest hints of Deathcore influence on this recording, however, is definately the inclusion of gutteral vocals. While some may say it’s not a sign of anything related to that style, there are some songs that seem to drop the Melodic Death Metal aspect and focus on creating a heavy, and somewhat more complex sound, coupled with gutteral vocals and supporting background high pitched vocals, but only at certain times, such as on “Unholiest of Nightmares”.

Despite the staggering amount of breakdowns that eventually lead to the album becoming a little bland, the music itself is actually rather impressive. There’s plenty of good tracks on here that are either catchy, or simply heavy. “And Our War Will Dawn” is one of the best representations of the album, and gets the listener ready with it’s perfect harmony between Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal. “Nevermore” shines nicely on this release due to it’s more haunting music brought on through the guitars being a little more technical, and when the lead guitars aren’t being technical, it creates a heavy, punishing sound that works nicely with the gutteral vocal approach of the band. Of course, “Curse in the Twilight” isn’t one of the strongest tracks on the release, trying to be dark and horrific, but ultimately failing. At this point, the album just starts to become stagnant, and while it’s clear the band isn’t trying to put filler material on here, the music simply isn’t as good as earlier tracks, and even the breakdowns suffer horribly at times. Atop that, the album has some various nods to the band Black Dahlia Murder in the guitar work, and some songs seem to take an atmospheric approach to the guitars similar to that of Deathcore act Oceano, especially the aquatic atmospheric chords from that band’s debut full-length offering, which appears in a horrible fasgion on the start of the title track, “Revenants”, which also shows some Deathcore influence from the many acts of the style utilizing a somewhat scattered song structure, which is implimented here.

For what it is, Revenants has some good songs on it that are worth checking out, mostly for the band’s ability to combine the Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore sounds so seemlessly. However, as the album goes along, once you hit the last third set of tracks, it all goes downhill quickly. The music becomes stagnant, loses it’s bite, and seems to horribly take inspiration from other bands, leaving the listener just not wanting to go back to them, or at the very least scratching their head wondering exactly what happened all of a sudden. Conducting from the Grave clearly shows they have what it takes to write some great songs, but they still need time to sit down and focus on the material and being consistent, and not utilizing build ups to a breakdown if the breakdown is only good, and not earth shaking like some bands have the ability to do with ease. The album does end on a positive note with the more Melodic Death Metal two parter “What Monsters We Have Become”, and it stands as a testament to what this album really could have been. For now, this is one to give a scan sometime, but not genuinely worth going out to buy. While it’s far from a bad album, it’s also not the greatest album, or what the album should have been, leaving it with little to come back to and for future repeat spins.

01. And Our War Will Dawn – 4:28
02. The Tyrant’s Throne – 3:37
03. Unholiest of Nightmares – 4:26
04. Her Poisoned Tongues – 3:47
05. Path of a Traitor – 4:00
06. Nevermore – 4:05
07. We Who Shall Conquer – 4:22
08. Curse in the Twilight – 4:53
09. Revenants – 3;30
10. What Monsters We Have Become (Pt. 1) – 4:53
11. What Monsters We Have Become (Pt. 2) – 2:19
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Conducting from the Grave (band)
Conducting from the Grave (logo)Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.