Review Summary: With their third full-length album, The World We Knew further distinguishes themselves from the run-of-the-mill metalcore bands and takes their sound to new heights.
Metalcore as a genre is something I'm hesitant to call myself a fan of. Many bands, even big names like Bullet for My Valentine
and Killswitch Engage
, tend to have shoddy releases every now and then, and rest of the "underground" tend to suck. Before this record, I had never heard of The World We Knew
, so after checking out the rest of their albums and forming a solid opinion on them as a whole, I've come to deliver my views on their third full-length, and the band as a whole.
Being able to listen to all a band has to offer across four years of hard work is a great thing, when the band is great. Luckily enough for me (and all their fans), The World We Knew is a very enjoyable metalcore band, often incorporating heavy metal and thrash metal influences. As opposed to the normal mediocre mix of breakdowns and chugging that seems to plague metalcore bands en masse, The World We Knew incorporates many a solo and dynamic guitar passage into their tracks on their records. While their first full-length didn't truly establish them as a band that differs from the masses, their sophomore effort To the Wolves
really showed the band's skill and energy. After a great second effort, expectations must have been high for them to pull through with Death Dealer
, and pull through they did.
opens up with five seconds or so of distorted noise before an abrupt shift gives us a first taste of what the band's sound has become. While the new album has a higher production value, the cause for a generally-more-enjoyable sound than To the Wolves mostly stems from the improved song structuring. There's a bigger emphasis on a more accessible framework this time around, with the guitars sounding a tad more technical and mastered while retaining The World We Knew's signature sound. The breakdowns that the band does make use of are enjoyable and sparse, again pointing to the structural improvements. The dynamic guitar parts are refreshing and keep things interesting, and it made me want to keep listening until the end. Like any good album, I listened to it again, not only because I had to in order to form a good opinion on it, but because I thoroughly enjoyed my first listen and wasn't quite done with it.
With the talk about structure and guitar-related improvements, the next item on the list is the drumwork. While it might not be exactly "memorable", Death Dealer
's drum tracks are interesting and somewhat reminiscent of pre-self-title Avenged Sevenfold
fills, but with less of an 'oomph'. They weren't awful, but they weren't brought to the front of the record enough for me to get a good feel for them, although there are some very enjoyable blast beast sections in the middle of the album and there's something of an emphasis on pounding double-bass. The drummer fits the band well, and his tracks suit the rest of the songs. Along with the better-than-average drumwork, I quite enjoyed the layered vocals that pop up in most of the album's choruses. Frank's vocals work great with the band, not being too predictable or generic but not being so out-of-character that they make you scratch your head. The World We Knew has shifted rather dramatically from metalcore as a whole with their approach to vocals, because even on the rare occasions that they introduce clean vocals to one of their tracks, there's always some presence of screaming somewhere in the song. This, along with the band's seemingly ambitious overall nature, reminds me of As I Lay Dying
. The lyrical content walks the line between inspirational and gloomy, as each song has a different meaning and several topics are addressed, but it doesn't for a second make me think of the generic lyrics like that of Slipknot
or Suicide Silence
. With all this great attention to structure, sound, and emotion behind the record, Death Dealer
is The World We Knew's best yet.
At this point, you shouldn't be under the impression that this band is generic or run-of-the-mill. No, The World We Knew is clearly a different band, and a great one at that. With a powerful sound that borrows from both thrash and heavy metal, Death Dealer
vaults to the front of the generally-stale mix of this generation's metalcore masses, and is sure to deliver all sorts of metalheads everywhere a great listening experience.