I'm sorry, but the reality is that the world simply does not need even one more band to take a stab at the melodic Swedish death metal sound. It's just a fact. That style was perfected in the late-90's by the Swedes that developed it, and all these American bands continuing to build their entire approaches around that approach are simply not cutting it. For the most part this debut full-length from Through the Eyes of the Dead is a competent one: Thick, churning power chord breaks and the occasional thrashy picking patterns, loads of dual guitar melodies and alternate picking riffs, a moderate dose of generally tactful tremolo picking, scathing vocal screams, etc. Basically everything you'd expect from a metal/metalcore band of this nature in 2005. But they fail where most such bands do: The songwriting simply isn't memorable or powerful in any way. Very few of the riffs grab my attention (it's usually some of the solos here and there that are pretty cool), and not one song as a complete whole strikes me as a memorable composition. It's just a disjointed record where songs range from succinct instrumental interludes to less than three-minute bursts or more than five- or six-minute numbers that kind of wander aimlessly and drag on. On rare occasion there will be a quick clean break or a nice melodic solo that spices things up, but it's pretty relentless for most of its duration - it's just a shame that so little of the writing is actually memorable. The recording? Well, it's alright, but someone should smack whoever let some of these drums tones out the door. After your ears adjust most of the mix helps to keep the rigidity of the percussion under control, but during the rolls or the faster blasts the snare possesses one of the most horrendously irritating and unnatural snaps I've ever heard, and I find it inexcusable on every level. The guitar tone is pretty warm and chunky, so they're in a good position there, but the bass is practically nonexistent and the vocals feel a little too strained as well. For the most part it sounds pretty decent, but the little nuances are stacking up against the overall impact, and I'm really tired of bands and labels accepting such flimsy drum tones from engineers like this. The layout is yet another handled by Paul Romano, and I actually think the back cover looks excellent - far superior to the rest of the layout. Don't get me wrong, it all looks totally pro, but nothing does anything for me except the color scheme and photography on the back cover. The lyrics are terrible though, also suffering from some of the same pitfalls as the rest of this genre with borderline laughable lines like: "Around your neck is where my hands are headed to prove my point that love is what you make it, A rose petal for every time you scream, sometimes I like to pretend you smile..." Yeah, I'm just gonna go ahead and cut loose and be a dick and have some fun with that one to close things out, I can't resist: "To your ass is where my foot is headed, to let you know your band's generic, Such childish lyrics reek of piss, sometimes I like to pretend this genre no longer exists..." Whew, sorry about that. I mean no personal offense, like I said, this is a competent record, but it offers up nothing new in any way, and my tolerance for this style is at an all time low because too many labels are simply continuing to foster the complete lack of creativity being put forth by all of these bands. Next.
Running time - 37:54, Tracks: 11
[Notable tracks: none of 'em really do anything for me]
Prosthetic Records - http://www.prostheticrecords.com