|Brutal Death Metal, Deathcore
October 31st, 2014
Release length: 33:50
Aeshma does often boast a hell of a lot more pros than cons, tickling the fancy of genre fans who crave something more than songs composed by second month guitar students. “Firstborn Privilege” has it’s fair share of aggressive passages. The emotion is really felt in the multi-layered growls and pig squeals that can carry some obvious studio tinkering, but also some Brutal Death Metal complexities that manage to pummel your ear drums with material that only continues to become infectious and destructive the further in you get. Even the mid-tempo breakdown and simpler one-chord structure it starts off with has a little more power to it thanks to how the band leads into it, while, in comparison, the brief closing version has a little more going for it in the guitars.
That climax acts as a nice segway into the burdening “Dearana”. The additional background effects give it a hint of Egyptian tension akin to Nile, and the simpler beginning feels like a natural expansion between the tracks that continues to grow in complexity fairly quick despite additional basic breaks that, like the end of “Firstborn Privilege”, remain pretty short. But it’s “Sleeping Titans” that is the most engaging, even energetic performance of the album. There’s a great deal of technicality on display with all the instruments, matching the power of the vocals to make it nearly impossible to not bang your head along to the ly groove-based cut that leaves the only breakdown to be found at the very end where it belongs for something as strong as this.
But you wouldn’t know this release had much you could consider to be unique from how it all starts, really. “Intro” is actually a strong ambient piece that would nicely suit a seventies or eighties Horror film, or even work out for a modern day Symphonic Black Metal group, shifting into the rather typical sounding start of “Illusions”. After a slow crawl with simple chords in a breakdown that seems to creep along, you are greeted with your basic Deathcore chugging and every stereotypical main verse composition that exists for the style anymore. But as you approach the half way point, the speed picks up to show a little more complexity, teasing that Brutal Death Metal element with steady blasts from the drum kit and suiting riffs, not to mention some early Oceano hooks that set up a dark, even aquatic realm that is a very warm welcome.
Sadly, that makes up most of the end to “Path of Exile” as well, including similar atmospheric leads. Thankfully what hits before isn’t half bad. “Dark Passenger”, however, is an interesting mixture of generic elements and moody environments. The song starts with some more one note chugging, gradually gaining ground as you go on (do you notice a trend by this point yet?), but once in a while you will hear some limited haunting notes or effects in the distance. Of course, these in no way compare to the emotional Progressive chunks that litter most of the title track “Aeshma”. Unlike the rest of the album’s dark, sometimes suffocating or drowning performances and film scores, this one actually incorporates a bit of hope to the mix with inspiring keyboards and melodic riffs that only give way to slim moments of traditional Deathcore teeth baring. The only thing that could be said negatively here is that this isn’t the closing track, which easily would have being a superb conclusion to this over thirty-three minute mixture of common Deathcore and impressive Brutal Death Metal intent.
Walking Dead on Broadway‘s debut full-length certainly is impressive for what it is, though it still suffers from the many tropes common to the Deathcore movement today. There’s plenty of strong Brutal Death Metal influence on display, some stunning technicality, and even an insanely impressive Progressive instrumental that’s only faulted by its placement on the release. But, along with that, you get about the same amount of one note chugs, patterned compositions, boring breakdowns, not to mention three to four of them, albeit often short bouts, within a single song at times. When you really examine Aeshma, what exists stands as a happy medium between what started the Deathcore genre off and where we have come with it today, making for something far more engaging than your traditional entry into the field.
Aeshma is a heavy album that flows naturally from one idea to the next, often hitting the listener hard with standard or complex grooves, hidden atmospheres, even some addicting melodies that keep you on your toes by catching you off guard with a change you don’t see coming but should have given how easily it fits the flow of the performance. Hopefully Walking Dead on Broadway continue to aspire towards more of the technical performances you find here because, if so, there’s no denying these guys will become a powerhouse in the Death Metal world. But, until then, we have Aeshma and it’s collection of material that makes for a Deathcore album that has more depth and talent than most new albums from the legends and pioneers of this movement.
01. Intro – 0:53
02. Illusions – 3:59
03. Firstborn Privilege – 3:13
04. Dearana – 3:30
05. Path of Exile – 3:45
06. Dark Passenger – 3:46
07. Aeshma – 3:10
08. Sleeping Titans – 3:40
09. Last Existence – 4:13
10. Eradication – 3:42
|Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10