Review Summary: Salt The Wound 2.0
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Salt The Wound officially disbanded in January of 2010. Now back from the grave as a two-piece (officially), it came as a very pleasant surprise to me when they announced they would be getting back together with original members Kevin Schaefer (vocals) and Jake Scott (guitar) to record and release a new CD. With Brandon Tabor (also drummed on Carnal Repercussions) filling out the lineup as their studio drummer, Kill The Crown was officially released a few months later. This is nothing like the band that released Carnal Repercussions and especially Ares. This is Salt The Wound 2.0: back from the dead, and sporting a brand new and very welcome sound.
Melody. The word is a very universal and unique one. It is also something that almost all deathcore bands are void of. While past releases from Salt The Wound mixed a little bit of melody and a lot of heaviness, Kill The Crown is actually the complete opposite. Breakdowns are used very sparingly, riffing is aplenty and filled with talent, and the songs have a lot more structure than on past CD's. Salt The Wound grow in almost every way on Kill The Crown. Some of the more riff-oriented tracks include "To The Top," "Early Mornings And Late Nights," and "A Year In The Suburbs." Jake shines on Kill The Crown, plain and simple. His very accommodating, free-flowing riffing style perfectly compliments Brandon's technical thrash/death metal influenced drumming. Jake also finds a way to include a lot of melody on the ten tracks, without coming off as redundant and shifting the band to a metalcore sound. Salt The Wound is still very much deathcore; they are just a better version of it.
Kevin Schaefer's grating, throat-heavy scream can be a love or hate aspect to Salt The Wound. While definitely having a unique sound, it's safe to say that some listeners may be a little turned off by it. However, Kevin has definitely improved since Carnal Repercussions, and it shows. Gone are the pig squeals, the cracking scream, the excessive layering. The production on Kevin's voice is good enough that it doesn't need the help of processing or layering. Another positive to Kill The Crown is Brandon Tabor's drumming. Not too over the top or complex for the riffing, Brandon is the epitome of a solid deathcore drummer. He mixes euro-blasting, bomb blasts, and even a few gravities in there; all while maintaining the traditional thrash drummer feel.
To be honest, there aren't many negatives to Kill The Crown. The CD as a whole is a little short, but overall it's a pretty original take on deathcore that mixes elements of melody to compliment the dark feel of the CD. If I had to recommend a few tracks, definitely check out "Consequence" and "Elle Ess Dee." "Consequence" is an emotional instrumental, filled with soaring synths and mellow riffing. It's a great end to a surprising CD. Salt The Wound is back, they have redefined their sound, and Kill The Crown is undeniable evidence of that. Welcome back!