As far as I’m concerned if a band can remain true to their ideals and still make their album catchy, then they absolutely should. I don’t fear catchiness like 90% of the Metal community does, and its bands like DAATH that really show that catchiness can be extreme too. And judging from many of the harsh reviews from the ‘true and kvlt’ Metalheads out there, they must have succeeded in this department.
Naturally though, DAATH’s second full length album (first for Roadrunner Records) is going to cause some controversy to begin with. Taking some basic Death Metal structures and ideas and then mixing it with Techno and Industrial inspired flavor and the occasionally Jazz flash into a strange brew of Modern ideals with extreme capabilities is going to infuriate the older class of Metalhead. It just happens that way. But when I listened to “The Hinderers” in its entirety, I felt that the band did exactly what it wanted and succeeded with it impressively.
“The Hinderers” does feel like a Death Metal version of STATIC-X at times, as the band throws in all kinds of sampling and keyboard parts into their extremely catchy songwriting. Hell, “Dead On The Dance Floor” is essentially a Techno Metal song. It works well for the band (although it does tend to stick out a little too much on the album), but using the synthesizers to compliment an already impressive Modern Death Metal foundation was only setting the band further apart in the scheme of things.
It’s this Death Metal foundation that really sets up this album as extreme and impressive though. Monster riffs and impressive fret work on the solos and leads keep the more modern sounding songwriting grounded while eclectic and sporadic drum work (they did have 3 different drummers record on this album) keeps up some of the great energy going. And having Sean Farber take out the clean vocals from the first album and only stay with his very distinctive (and oddly understandable) growling worked for the best for DAATH.
The album does suffer as a whole from their songwriting style and catchiness though. And some tracks very much feel like filler while other tracks not only stand out but could easily have been singles for the band. And that’s the biggest flaw I could find on this album honestly. The production is amazing and works very well with the style (who knew that James Murphy could be so modern?) and the band shows off their best in all areas.
Too bad that many Metalheads will remain too closed minded to ever see how well this album actually works. But it’s a price one pays to be catchy in a world of elitism of music, and I’m sure DAATH doesn’t regret a minute of it. I know I enjoyed it immensely and I’m eagerly awaiting their next chapter.
Songs to check out: “Subterfuge”, “Ovum”, “The Hinderers”.
(Online December 4, 2008)