Review Summary: Deranged beyond the point of no return, Deadly Scenes is the masterpiece you’ve never heard.
Two years ago I found myself at the ProgPower Europe festival in a small town called Baarlo in the Netherlands. The lineup was simply too special for a prog fan to resist: Distorted Harmony, In Mourning, Chaos Divine and Textures all played back to back to back. Yet there was a band I didn’t know that started it all off, called 6:33. Now truth be told, I didn’t really like it. It was intriguing, but simply too uncomfortable for me. Weird guys with weird podium outfits being weird on stage and making weird music, I had no idea what to make of it. Yet it was interesting enough to start listening to once at home, and boy did I miss out on one amazing gig had I but checked out the band’s music beforehand.
The word progressive has been stamped on pretty much every band that doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into a genre. Hell, even that sentence has been used to death by now. Yet calling 6:33’s music anything else than progressive would be ridiculous. The amount of diversity on display here is nothing short of extreme.
Like any self-respecting metal band, the album starts out with a piece of gospel... Sure, why not, nothing really new there. Yet In the first song alone we can find progressive guitar riffs, blast beats, clean pop vocals, a danceable chorus and a very juvenile, metalcore attitude. And that’s just the first song people! 6:33 somehow manage to put more diversity into a single song than most bands (even prog bands) use in their entire discography, and more impressively, they use it all without it becoming a disjointed mess of an album. Extreme metal? Check! Country? Check! Funk? Check! Classical music? Check! You think of something else? Most likely you will find it somewhere in Deadly Scenes.
The use of a million different genres does not mean the music is any good though. Yet the most beautiful part of it: it actually is! The musicianship is great and absolutely on par for a progressive metal release, yet it stays far away from the widdly widdly wanky wanky that so many prog bands fall pray to. Clearly, the song comes first, and every single song on Deadly Scenes is its own treasure trove, waiting to be explored. Yet the music is as non-commercial as can be, and it is certainly weird. Weird to the point where the default reaction after the first listen will be: ‘What the f*** did I just listen to?’ Imagine Devin Townsend putting every crazy idea he’s ever had into a single album. Maybe it comes close to what 6:33 have pulled off here, but truth be told I think you would still be a way off. Yet for all its unpredictability and awkwardness, songs like Hellalujah and I’m a Nerd are still super catchy, which makes even a first listen an enjoyable rollercoaster ride.
Yet for all the inspired musicianship, the lyrics can be a bit lackluster. At no point does the band take itself seriously (which is a good thing), but the lyrics can be a bit too juvenile for my taste, with the start of the title track, for example, being silly to the point of it being plain stupid, not funny. I am pretty certain the same concept was used for an episode of Family Guy at one point or another. Yet it is a small blemish that I can easily look past.
The thing that still baffles me, is that how an album as crazy, as utterly insane as this can not be a creative mess? Truth be told, I have no idea, but they somehow made it work. Maybe this is the difference between forcing things and being genuinely inspired. The songwriting is clever, with the myriad of transitions being on point and logical most of the time. Just as important, all the different styles and genres don’t ever feel out of place once you get a little used to their sound. Somehow it all makes sense.
With Deadly Scenes, 6:33 have pushed the boundaries of what can be done with progressive music to extremes. Yet it almost always works to create one of the most unpredictable, deranged and pleasurable musical experiences I have ever heard. Get yourself intrigued, keep listening and this will grow into an absolute masterpiece!