Diemertus To See Skies Fall (Demo/EP 2009)
Rating: 3.0/5.0 – Good demo, has room for growth and improvement
Label: Unsigned
Website: myspace.com/diemertus

Frankly, I had no idea what to expect when I was given Shorewood, Wisconsin-based Diemertus‘ EP To See Skies Fall to review.  Of the bands from Wisco that I’m familiar with, they were not among the ranks.  I’d heard a couple of tracks via MySpace but it was certainly not enough to accurately judge them.  However, I was finally given a chance to really get a good listen and feel for this band–and I was definitely impressed with the quality of this material, which I would describe as balls-to-the-wall melodic death.  There could be dissenters from this title, because they could easily be the much aligned “deathcore” as well–but they don’t seem to consider themselves that genre.

When I say “balls-to-the-wall,” I really mean it; these guys have some seriously heavy material on this record.  Rotating, very smoothly, between blasty death parts to some killer groove (particularly on the track “Seek Out the Sun,” which is my favorite on the album), every track on this album is heavy as hell. Not only that, but the guitar work is great, by which I mean that the band maintains a level of melodic content that leads to certain songs actually sticking with you–something that a lot of modern death metal bands sort of fail at.   Oh, and these dudes can play.  While the “sweeping guitar hero” trend has gotten out of hand, it is put to good use on this record with some serious wankery (in the best possible sense) peppered throughout the whole album.

However, there are some definite weaknesses on To See Skies Fall, as well.   While as a cohesive whole this EP is good, it is obvious that the band has some room for growth in their sound and technique.  Firstly, the production here is pretty muddled which leads to certain parts of the demo sounding like the band isn’t really that tight.  This particularly comes through in the slow parts, where things that are probably interestingly poly-rhythmic, just sounds totally confused.  In fact, the first 30 seconds had me worried as hell, before the ass-kickingness started, because it sounded disoriented and sloppy.  The other thing that stood out for me is that the band probably could have used a good producer in reference to some of the guitar solos, which, while impressive, sound a little bit forced in places.  Some of these things could simply be reformulated to the benefit of the band.

Stylistically, the reason I called the band the band “Deathcore” in the beginning, too, was because they sound like a good mix of bands like At The Gates, The Black Dahlia Murder (particularly the vocals), and Hypocrisy, but they also have a few too many breakdowns for my taste.  While sometimes these can be good, a couple of the breakdowns on this album kinda just made my head hurt.  Fortunately, the band doesn’t use them too often, they don’t spend too much time on them, and in the case of “Raptorz!” the breakdown also leads to one of the best groove parts on the whole album.  If you dig that style, then these guys are definitely up your alley.

Of course, these guys are up the alley of most dudes who like good melodic death metal in the end.  They would benefit from a better recording and some tightening up–but the base-level musicianship, the excellent vocal approach and the songwriting base is all there.  These guys have big potential and I expect that their next record will be even better.

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