Review Summary: With The Reality Vector, Dweller adds a drop of melody and a whole lot of restraint into their brand of deathcore. The end result is an approachable album in a notoriously difficult genre.
Deathcore was a genre that always mystified me. Over the years I had grown to accept the peculiarities of extreme metal, and love the harshness of Napalm Death
and Pig Destroyer
. But deathcore had two major issues that kept me at an arm's length.
The first was appalling production that made it actively unpleasant to listen for any kind of extended time. Secondly, there was an unhealthy obsession with breakdowns. This amount of instrumental navel-gazing made it run into the same problem that shred music can have- it feels like a technical demo rather than a cohesive series of songs. This of course isn't universal to the genre, but these two characteristics came up consistently. Why do I mention all this? It's because Dweller's *The Reality Vector* seems as if it exists to make deathcore accessible to outsiders. An appropriate amount of restraint and injecting a bit of variety to keep the heaviest parts fresh and avoid repetition.
In several places, like the intro to the opener "Visions" and the outro to the title track, melody makes an unexpected appearance. These segues keep the pounding drums and relentless harsh vocals from blurring the album into disorganized fury. The songs are clearly separate compositions and have their own unique characteristics. Some songs bounce along with droning riffs that encourage headbanging and make you ready for some breakdown action. Others like "Integrated Vigilance" put the guitars in the backseat and let the drums set a blistering pace up there with the fastest thrash acts. Vocals are a constant in the album- Steve Samonek growls with the best of them and fits in nicely with the rest of the band. They're powerful but aren't unusual and distracting.
The breakdowns themselves are certainly there, but they're not interrupting the song at inopportune times. They've been folded in well and keep a similar sound to what comes before and picks up after. Overall, they don't cause too much of a tempo shift. Dweller also finds a framework that fits their style and sticks to it- songs clock in at roughly four minutes each, and at 35 minutes total they don't engage in self-indulgence.
*The Reality Vector* is a complete package and doesn't have glaring flaws. It's not the most inventive record in the world- you'll find superior instrumentation from Cryptopsy
and the like. But it delivers in being both extreme and approachable. It's not guaranteed to convert you to the genre, but it's definitely a good place to start.