Review Summary: Conducting From the Grave leave me with disjointed outlooks on their musical abilities and depth.
Amongst the listeners of deathcore, there are two kinds of people; the ones who listen to anything from the genre, where quality matters not, and the ones who would far prefer to listen to music that required skill to write and execute properly. If you're of the second category, the pickings are slim. You want meaningful songwriting and music that actually sounds good. If you're looking for that in deathcore, or even in progressive death metal, I'd suggest checking out some tracks from Conducting From the Grave
's 2010 release, Revenants
. Showcasing both blistering speed and dynamic control, this album's highlights have a great amount more instrumental depth than the typical chug-fests that constitute most of this band's peers, and the skill required to actually write, produce, and execute this music is very demanding - for the most part.
Your first introduction to Conducting From the Grave's sound here will be album opener "And Our War Will Dawn". Honestly, the band couldn't have picked a better opening track if they tried; thus song holds a significant amount of music depth, with a lengthy melodic solo and a blisteringly-fast BPM otherwise. While it opens with a clean guitar pairing - which serves to set the gloomy, foreboding mood effectively - "And Our War Will Dawn" is a fast, powerful song with a mix of well-produced low screams and contrasting high shrieks that has defined the genre's vocals at this stage. Aside from the lengthy solo, the guitarplay runs the line between technical and melodic, requiring both quick fingers and a musical ear to produce properly. Such melodies, found in almost every song henceforth, refrain from being mindless wankery by keeping an acceptable speed and shred count. As for the drumming, more interesting technical deathcore drumming can be found in bands like The Red Chord
and Born of Osiris
, but the drum tracks on Revenants
are far from completely unimaginative. They don't lead the mix or establish unique song structure - that job is instead picked up by the lead and rhythm guitars - but they stay interesting enough to keep you from getting completely bored. You are better off focusing on the guitars or vocals, though, as those two seem to lead the mix, anyways.
As you delve deeper into the album, you'll find influences similar to those used on The Contortionist
- tracks like "Unholiest of Nightmares" being prime examples - and you'll find songs that may contradict your first impressions. The fourth track, "Her Poisoned Tongues", is actually home to mindless wankery - as well as mindless lyrics - and in general feels like a forced, unimpressive, boring track. The lyrics might seem brutal and powerful to some, but when you've listened to enough of it, the misogyny gets a little old. Just a little. The anthem at the end redeems it somewhat, though, being extremely catchy. A similar experience is had with "Path of a Traitor", where you have a rather repetitive structure following a catchy anthem. The middle of this record is where listeners will begin to drop off, but some hidden gems are there, and the ending tracks are worth it. "Nevermore", a spoof on Edgar Allen Poe's poetry, is a worthy listen with interesting lyrical meanings and a welcome revitalisation of musical depth. I would aliken it to a breath of fresh air, an indicator that it's time to pay attention again. The next five tracks are powerful and melodic in their own right, but the real deal is the two-part album closer, "What Monsters We Have Become". Conducting From the Grave's anthem-writing skills come in handy again here, and this time, the impact can really be felt. These tracks close up Revenants
very well, and impart a good amount of lyrical depth into the listener.
But I am not satisfied. Conducting From the Grave created a disjointed record with several enjoyable tracks, a few stellar ones, and a few substandard ones that have no place plaguing the album. They go from being good to being average before returning to good and having a few stellar moments. I can't describe the whole album with blanket terms because the album is disjointed in its quality. It's disappointing. It's irritating. It's really weird. I just don't understand what happened halfway through the album's production to make the quality drop to boring, run-of-the-mill levels - especially since Revenants
has plenty creme-of-the-crop moments. I can only hope for a solid, stronger release in the future, and recommend the good tracks for you guys. Enjoy what they have to offer.
1. "And Our War Will Dawn"
3. "Unholiest of Nightmares"
8. "Curse in the Twilight"
10-11 "What Monsters We Have Become" (both parts)