Degradead: A World Destroyer

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Degradead: A World Destroyer
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Degradead: A World Destroyer
Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Metalville Records
June 28th, 2011
Release length: 41:48
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Degradead is one of those bands that hasn’t really made it big yet, but really has the potential to become a big name player in the Melodic Death Metal band. This is a band you probably have yet to hear either, but have heard the name tossed around conversations in life or the internet here and there. The band was actually known as Septima for quite some time, having formed back in 2000, and never really was picked up, having issued six demos and DVD prior to switching their name out to Degradead in 2008. That same year they issued their debut full-length effort with a follow-up the year later, both receiving a decent amount of positive feedback from fans of the style, as well as critics. A World Destroyer marks the group’s third album, and one can only wonder if it will be enough to cast the spotlight on them, or if it’ll be as enjoyable as their previous effort.

While A World Destroyer does maintain the decent mixture of Thrash and Melodic Death Metal, however this time around the music is actually pretty obvious and not really as unique as one would hope. If you have heard The War Within-era Shadows Fall and Natural Born Chaos-era Soilwork, and can mix the two together, then you’ll have a good idea of what to expect from this band. Tack on some more Metalcore-esque elements at times and some random breakdowns here and there, Thrash or -core inspired, and you’ve got a recipe for a rather generic sounding album as far as the composition goes. The album’s production is about what you would expect given the two bands you can pinpoint in the style, being rather clear, though with a decent heavy bass-driven sound to it that gives the music enough of an edge. All the levels are great and each instrument and the distortions used sound crisp and often intimidating, and on many tracks you can really sense the energy and effort being put into the material from the band, such as with the track “A Taste of Destiny”.

But, with all that said, even with the fact that it’s not the most unique experience out there, it’s also not really the worst entry into the Melodic Death Metal/Thrash Metal world. The energy driven music does manage to reach out to the listen, and at times Degradead play on the more Melodic Death Metal elements well enough to really make everything rich, have a strong impact from the heavier music, and just feel a little more furious then other entries into this style. “Human Nature” starts off the album, but actually does a poor job of setting the release up. The track does feel very cliche and doesn’t offer much to the listener. There’s no real burst of energy to be found anywhere on this effort, and while the song itself isn’t bad, at this point in time for this sort of game, it’s lack of energy, slower nature, and stereotypical staples towards the style really won’t make much of a strong impression on the listener. However, what follows really throws much of this album into a much brighter light. The aforementioned “A Taste of Destiny” really shows the band at their best with a strong energetic performance, excellent use of keyboards to add to the general faster paced intensity of the music, and the mixture of screaming and singing really sounds great and drives the song. However, this is where some of the issues that plague the album become established.

Not many tracks on A World Destroyer hold up to “A Taste of Destiny”, often not really having that hook, edge, or energy behind it to really grab the listener. “A False Hope” follows this track, and it does share the same kind of energy, though the intensity is a little less then it’s predecessor. Even with that said, it’s still a strong effort with plenty of heavy hooks that grab the listener by the juggular. On top of that, a pattern starts to emit of the by numbers “scream verse, sing chorus” pattern, and it does grow stale very quickly, especially when the music just doesn’t really feel strong enough to support it and makes for a far more cliche sound. Of course there are some tracks where that pattern does seem to change up, such as with “Part of the System”, which features both clean singing and screaming in the chorus, which does offer up a more then welcome change to the pace, no matter how small it really comes off. But, even with the pattern still being executed, this track does stand out on the album due to it’s more energetic presence, and has enough intensity to the hooks to keep the listener’s head bobbing up and down with the rhythm of the track and the more emotional sounding vocals against a really melodic yet heavy sounding chorus until the very end where the song ends in the same way “A Taste of Destiny” ends: Whispering the very last word of the last line after the music comes to an end. Having done it once worked well, but twice on the same album just sounds very generic and really overused.

But, while there’s a few energetic, pulse-pounding tracks on here like “A Taste of Destiny”, “Part of the System”, and even generally catchy songs “Near the End” and “Broken”, there’s also a decent number of generic tracks that don’t make much of an impact and are forgettable. “The Final Judgement” comes off this way the first time through, being a little more generic then other songs on this effort, but this seeminmgly as generic as it gts track does grow on the listener after a while, and it seems to really just focus on being a more intense ride then anything and breaks the by numbers pattern already established at that point, which is also a nice change of pace, though still not a highly impressive track or that unique. “Human Nature” could have used a little more work to make it catchy or have a little extra intensity to it that might catch the listener’s attention. “Near the End” is an alright song, and it’s softer, slower performance doesn’t really leave room for an energetic performance, which would be alright, but the song itself just isn’t all that engaging and does feel a little more generic then it really could have been. These are just a few of the less then enjoyable songs on the album.

But, does this mean it’s a terrible album? Not really. While it’s nothing too unique and much of the release really won’t challenge the listener or offer up a unique experience, or even feel like something you haven’t heard before, even some of the filler or not-quite-engaging songs are at least done well and clearly come off as being done with good intent and not to just become another band in a stack of Melodic Death/Thrash Metal acts that sound exactly the same as the last. If you enjoy Melodic Death Metal or some Thrash in that style, and you’ve heard a good deal of it, then chances are good you won’t really find much to brag about on this effort, but if you haven’t and are new to this whole mess, you’ll probably enjoy it more for it’s consistance despite the patterns, as well as it’s solid performance and often strong, energetic performance. Even if you’re a long time of the style it still has some great tracks with some that can still be looked at more as background music then anything else, nothing so bad it’ll be an insult to your ears, but nothing too impressive you’ll stop what you’re doing to listen with your jaw dropped to the ground in awe. A World Destroyer by Degradead may not be the most spectacular example of Metal, but it still packs a decent punch.

01. Human Nature – 4:28
02. A Taste of Destiny – 3:54
03. A False Hope – 4:24
04. The Final Judgement – 3:35
05. Broken – 3:44
06. Part of the System – 5:34
07. No One Prevail – 4:40
08. Cold Blood – 3:45
09. Near the End – 3:54
10. Kept in the Dark – 5:51
Overall Score: 6/10
Degradead (band)
Degradead
Digital review copy of this release provided by Metalville Records.