THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD have matured a lot since the release of their debut, “Bloodlust.” There are notable changes to the bands performance and approach to writing the music on this sophomore effort, “Malice” that are going to please some fans and disengage others. “Malice” is different enough from their debut that one can see the growth within the band but also similar enough that they don’t lose their Deathcore style that they play.
The most obvious difference for THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD is their new vocalist and his approach to the music. He approaches his part in a more aggressive and guttural way than their previous singer did. He sacrifices a lot of variety to push the band further towards Death Metal and farther from Hardcore with his vocals. There is some variation to his roars but most of them come through layering the vocals or during screams and not in the vocal content.
Musically, the band has progressed quite a bit since their debut. They pull a lot of the CANNIBAL CORPSE sound into this album and it helps keep their energy up for the entire album. But as with the curse of CANNIBAL CORPSE’s music, most of this album is too similar to really push any limits. The guitars are heavier and more technical on “Malice” but most of the technicality gets lost in the flurry. The breakdowns on the album are barely breakdowns anymore, the technicality and diversity that has been added divert from the essential simplicity of the breakdown. For me this is a great side of the album, as I found the increased technicality gave the album more weight as a whole.
Even the rhythm section of THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD seems to have found a better stride with “Malice”. The drums (despite a very triggered and somewhat annoying bass drum sound for the blast beats) are more precise and full. They really carry the energy of the album a long way and really help the guitars to follow through on the leads and limited solos. The bass work has also increased in its presence with a heavier sense of low end for the music. It’s too bad that the bass lines get lost in a lot of the music because of its aggressive and brutal quality.
“Malice” is a huge step forward for THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD in a direction that I think the band is more suitable to fit in at. There are still the quirks that the band has yet to work out but the final produce is a brutal effort that will please a lot of Metal listeners. The band has a lot of talent but they haven’t quite tapped into their full reserve yet. Definitely waiting to hear their next step.
Songs to check out: “As Good As Dead”, “To Wage A War”, “Pull The Trigger”.
(Online October 22, 2007)