Considering the debacle that became SOIL when the band started to move into mainstream success, Shaun Glass (guitars) decided to bail ship. He wanted to do something a little more substantial with his talents and decided that he needed a new project to be able to flex his wings a bit. Thusly we get DIRGE WITHIN, his new project with a new line-up and generally a new sound.
Two years after leaving SOIL, we get DIRGE WITHIN’s debut release, “Force Fed Lies”. Even with his Nu Metal background, Glass does get to flex his talented fingers and writing abilities with this band and he jumps into another genre. Unfortunately, DIRGE WITHIN does not tend to be all that original. The music contained on “Force Fed Lies” could be described as Metalcore with Thrash Metal tendencies. The band is similar in sound and idea to that of TRIVIUM (which isn’t all that surprising considering that Corey Beaulieu, guitarist for TRIVIUM, makes an appearance on the album). So Glass went from one shrinking Metal sub genre to another one that is going through a similar fate.
Even though DIRGE WITHIN is about five years too late to hit the sweet spot for the genre, it doesn’t stop them from writing a solid release. Granted, as mentioned, it’s not all that original sounding, but the band does seem to throw a lot of heart into the release. They tend to have a lot of talent in their ranks, with particular nod to Glass for some nice soloing and sweet guitar work, and they perform their music with plenty of tenacity. The band does tend to keep some of the riffs and energy from the Thrash genre as a solid foundation, but keeps their Metalcore structuring and ideology up front. A combination of Hardcore inspired barking and singing choruses tend to bring the Metalcore up to the forefront and work well with the energetic Modern writing.
One thing that “Force Fed Lies” falls prey too is being a bit too much of the same. By about half way through the album you don’t get a whole lot of new/unique sounding material. It tends to run together at this point and fall a bit flat. It’s a mistake that an experienced member like Glass should know a little better than to fall into to.
DIRGE WITHIN do strike some nice chords with their debut. It’s tenacious in its writing and performance, even if it isn’t all that original or stands out, and with a nice smooth modern production courtesy of Edsel Dope (yeah, I thought it was pretty random too that a member of DOPE produced this) the band does give a nice introduction to their new style. Glass was right to jump a sinking ship, but he has to be careful where he lands. This has potential, but could easily collapse under the weight of a shriveling genre.
Songs to check out: “New Disease”, “Forever The Martyr”, “Force Fed Lies”.
(Online March 23, 2010)