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Dorylus - Without Sin

Without Sin
by Max Elias at 10 May 2019, 4:39 PM

DORYLUS’ new full-length is a hammering piledriver of melodeath-inflected thrash. The first seconds of album opener "Under My Flesh" get right to business with their mid-tempo melodic thrash bite. The low bark of the vocals over heavy guitars lends a brutal edge to the track, which surprisingly but not unpleasantly pauses for a clean interlude around the 2-minute mark, then overlaid with melodic lead work. It sounds nothing like this, but whenever a band does this I always think of it as their ‘Mater of Puppets’ moment. That interlude evolves until it is almost a song within the song in its own right, finishing with soaring arpeggios before reintroducing its heaviness. "Bite the Bullet" continues in the vein of what I’m tempted to describe as a more-growly modern KREATOR at times. The vocalist is going lower than Petrozza’s frenzied howl, but that allows the instrumental intricacies to be heard more clearly. The main riff is a definite headbanger, although I feel like there are a few too many breakdowns on this track for my liking. Apart from that the riffs are good, and the solo soars rather than shreds (at least at first); something that is refreshing for thrash bands.

The pattern of ‘good riffs, meh breakdown’ continues on "Lesser Evil". There’s definitely nothing lesser about it, as the band hits you immediately with furious melody-tinted riffing, and the drums are as frenetic as they’ve ever been. But it can be said to chug along a little more than it drives forward in parts. "First Stone", by contrast, opens with the slamming breakdown work, here serving to build rather than diminish intensity, that then evolves into dark-sounding riff work. The song definitely sounds eviler than the rest of the record up to this point, probably because of the greater use of octave riffs. I like the contrast between brutal low end and jagged flashes of melody. The almost-spoken intro in "Witch Hunter" is an eerie kickoff to another punishing riff-fest and later the song features a haunting interlude typical of melodeath contemporaries like Black Therapy. That approach reappears at the 4-minute mark, really striking a different tone than the rest of their work displayed here.

By the time we get to "Mirrors" we are more than halfway through the album, and it unfortunately seems like it’s been longer. The riffs still carry heft, but are not incredibly distinct from other riffs on past songs. I do really like the solo on this song though; it isn’t that long, but it fits in exactly where it should. And I’m always ready for a well-timed burst of neoclassical guitar wizardry. Thankfully it seems like we’re in for some variety with "Serpents", opening as it does with clean guitar supplanted by mournful lead work. The riffs that do eventually dominate the song are some of my favorites on the album, probably because they seem up there in terms of physical difficulty, and I’m a sucker for something that’s just really fun to play. "Upon the Horizon" isn’t bad, but is definitely more of the same, and is about a third breakdown. The second to last track, as the name implies, is a bit more uplifting. "Sunrise" starts with a fleet-fingered IN FLAMES type melody, and the stomping triplet/galloping groove of the succeeding riffs suggest the hopeful air of MORS PRINCIPIUM EST rather than the demonic one of AT THE GATES. For standalone riffs, I’d have to say the one at around 3:38 caught my attention the most.

The album ends on "Decency Derailed", which begins sounding as if it’s going to be a ballad of sorts before crushing you with the same midpace thrash you’ve been pummeled by all along. The softness reintroduces itself right before the solo, and as befits a closing track, this may be one of the more impressive solos of the album, fading back seamlessly into more melodic, textural passages. An enjoyable album even if it was a little too preoccupied with similar ideas now and again—and I definitely think most of these songs were longer than they should be (again, breakdowns).

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Under My Flesh
2. Bite the Bullet
3. Lesser Evil
4. First Stone
5. Witch Hunter
6. Mirrors
7. Serpents
8. Upon the Horizon
9. Sunrise
10. Decency Derailed
Joe Lyndon - Guitar/lead vocals
Craig Carmichael -Guitar/backing vocals
Edd Littler - Bass
Mitch Cartwright - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 28 February 2021

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