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Dying Empire - Dystopia Award winner

Dying Empire
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 09 April 2017, 11:30 PM

The last couple years have seen melodic death metal breaking out of its own confines and putting out some great releases. DYING EMPIRE’S first full length album, “Dystopia,” can be safely added to that list.  Depending how you feel about the genre, it might be unfair to label them as such.  Although they definitely have some melody this isn’t Gothenburg style Melodic Death.  The music on “Dystopia” is heavy and punishing as much as it is melodic.

The first track, “From Genesis,” is just a short intro but it really invokes an adventurous sense of passion and melody that continues throughout the whole album.  The clean keys from the intro effortlessly end the song and then begin the next track, “Origin.”  The album has some very slick production that no doubt helps the overall sound; it finds a rare balance between making every instrument shine but also allows the metal to keep the sharp edge it so obviously needs.  Going back to “Origin,” the piano stops and the kick ass chunky riffs pound the music into your skull.  Mag is a great guitarist, having no problem creating heavy riffs, intense break downs, and beautiful melodies.  His playing makes it all sound pretty effortless, thus keeping things from getting bored or the songs blending in together.

His playing is further complimented by the bassist, O’Malley, who provides a very enjoyable experience, especially when he and Mag are playing as one seamless metal machine.  Around the 2:20 mark, we are treated to a melodic passage with the guitars and bass intertwining to create a hypnotic sound that just pulls you in.  This passage leads into a melodic and yet shredding guitar solo from Mag and O’Malley really gives it a heavy boost with his own thunderous riffs.   These two guys are definitely a great duo. Listening to track four, “Confines,” will give you all the proof one needs to see how great O’Malley is; the track opens up with a crazy, fast, and melodic bass line before Mag explodes alongside him.  His riffs on here mix breakdown and thrash, weaving them together to create one roar of a song that forces you to head-bang.

As good as the guitars are, a death metal band wouldn’t be complete without a great vocalist to front it all, and Gastel is indeed that.  He puts his vocals chords thru some great abuse and shows a surprising amount of range for his style.  Going back to “Origin,” his growls are more like a hardcore type throaty yell but much heavier than you would expect. His speed is great too, spitting out words so fast that he reminds me of Bjorn Strid from SOILWORK at times.  Elsewhere, such as on “Oblivion,” his vocals scream outward so hard it sounds like he might throw up (compliment, by the way) and he still manages to throw in some super low death growls.  At times, his vocals get even more clean (like on “Inner Eclipse”)but, again, they are more low end and deep than high pitched and full of tears.

There are some other “clean” vocals on this album here and there but they don’t take away from the experience.  The cleans are not the poppy, whiny, boy band vocals a lot of the more modern metal bands do but instead are built around his growls and screams; he sounds like a lower pitched Alexi and his cleans in CHILDREN OF BODOM.   They contain a hint of melody, enough to show that he probably could truly sing if he wanted, but they don’t go overboard. Tying the whole band together and supporting them with one hell of backbone is their drummer Benner. His footwork is impeccable; his double bass is loud, fast, and insanely tight.  It so brutal I could see him blowing out your speakers on a louder system.  His playing is non-stop intense, especially when he’s hammering on the snares and pounding the cymbals into nothing—he is definitely more energetic and heavy than a lot of other melodic death drummers.

All in all, this is a great release that could easily please fans of Melodic Death, Thrash, or even Death Metal.  The care, versatility, and passion this band displays in their music is evident and very infectious.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. From Genesis
2. Origin
3. Tarnished Sight
4. Confines
5. Reign in Silence
6. Walk of the Dead
7. ….Through Existence
8. Oblivion
9. Inner Eclipse
10. Worthless
11. Burn the Empire Humanity
12.  …into Dystopia
Gastel – Guitar, Vocals
Mag – Guitar
O’Malley – Bass
Benner – Drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records


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Edited 17 July 2018

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