Review Summary: A strong breath of fresh air to modern deathcore.
With The Great Commonwealth
, deathcore newbies Death of an Era have done the near impossible: found a sound that stands out from the clogged deathcore crowd, even if it’s not fully unique. "The Great Commonwealth" is mostly crushing, with some solid technical riffing and plenty of truly crushing breakdowns, dashes of electronics to add a feeling of cinematic orchestration, and a few cleanly sung choruses that go over better than you might expect. The EP strives to give deathcore a better name and, while not reinventing the genre, it does help a little.
The EP runs at about 24 minutes over six tracks, a decidedly concise time, especially in regards to the potentially exhausting style. The Great Commonwealth
opens with "Create, Sustain", and it’s clear that the band intended to come out swinging. Riffs and breakdowns are the name of the game here. Death of an Era seem to perpetually move at fast speeds and rarely slow down. Most of the breakdowns are fast and full of right hand precision required chugging. The breakdown after the one minute mark in "Create, Sustain", for instance, gives off The Holy Guile vibes in terms of technicality. There isn't an overwhelming amount of lead work, but when used, it’s quite effective. The leads are often ominous and used to enhance build ups, intros, and breakdowns. The drum work is of particular note as well. Fast, heavy, and constantly shifting, the drums always seem to be doing something to up the intensity. The vocalist is very talented in regards to his low gutturals, though he arguably over utilizes them and lacks distinct enunciation to boot. His high screams are an odd half scream/half yell style, but it works. "Create, Sustain" and following track "P.O.S." take on the job of showing what these guys can do, and complete their task admirably.
On third track "Shapeshifter" things start to change however. The song begins in their usual fashion, but inexplicably a clean sung chorus worms its way in. The final three tracks share this trait while still keeping the heavy riffs and breakdowns. The "Shapeshifter" chorus is particularly good based not on the singing, but the intricate instrumentation backing it. The clean vocals may bear a polished, poppy tone, but they serve the EP well in their inclusion. The choruses definitely work in terms of adding variety, but it’s also clear that Death of an Era is just a bit better when the aggression levels peak.
The polished production isn’t necessarily the most dynamic, but it also doesn’t really hinder the EP either. The abundance of cinematic orchestrations might however, keeping the mix full and loud most of the time, which could lead to a bit of fatigue from the listener. In addition, the bass is sadly dominated by the guitars in the mix and lies unfortunately forgotten except in a few select places.
In the end what Death of an Era does well is a diverse mix of deathcore, metalcore, electronica, and slight progressive metal influences. All of the elements used have been done before and probably better, but Death of an Era have shown themselves to be strong breakout act in the genre with this EP. They certainly won’t be a band to be missed if they continue on this path in the future.