Review Summary: An interesting metal release that shows a lot of potential
The use of djent in metal has been expanded and developed a lot in recent years, with bands like Periphery
making it more accesible, compared to the sound of the genre pioneers Meshuggah
. DC metal band Wings Denied takes this sound and almost masters it with their debut EP. The riffs are all tight, the songs are concise and don't meander and the vocals fit in very well.
The album opens with a totally killer track. Maiden
is energetic, opening with a cool melody that explodes into a driving riff. The chorus is very catchy and the song manages to sounds serious and fun at the same time and features a decent breakdown and solo. It is very focused and maintains a powerful sense of direction throughout. The next song, Clockwork
is also solid, for the same reasons as Maiden. However, it loses a lot of it's punch with the break after the first chorus, in which the words "Every night I die/but with the rising sun I am/reborn" are belted out, which sounds out of place, underwhelming and cliched.
is a bit of a let-down in terms of quality. Although the intro conveys an atmosphere of desolation very well and the verses and chorus are good, the riffs are all heaviness and little melody, sounding bland, and consequentially it doesn't sound as inspired as the other two songs. The worst thing about it is the break near the end, when the song slows down and the words "The song of freedom" are repeated several times. This song is not an anthem, and this line sounds out of place and vapid, as the singer's voice doesn't suit a hopeful message particularly well.
The vocals are a bit of a double-edged sword. The cleans are great and fit in very well with the music, for example when the singer croons over the chorus of Clockwork. However, the growls and screams sound somewhat hollow and underwhelm where they are meant to enrage. Fortunately, the vocals are mainly clean, but this is a problem that the band will need to fix for future releases. The other problem is that the bass is far too low in the mix, which makes the album seem even more hollow. Other than that, there aren't any major flaws. On paper, everything is in its right place here; the breakdowns and screams are well-timed, and neither too long nor too many. The solos are effective without going overboard and shredding excessively and the drums keep up well with everything else, conveying energy throughout the album. I would recommend the first two songs to anyone, since this band has a lot of potential.
Clean vocals are great
Bass too low in the mix
Growls and screams too hollow