Friday, 17 May 2013

Blood Dress - Beyond the Flesh - 78%

Classy Argentinian tech death designers

My fellow moderator and veteran reviewer BastardHead challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and review a technical death band, he proposed Blood Dress's first album Beyond the Flesh and he was right to do so since it's a very good release. The gorgeous but simple cover art hides a very competent new quintet. While I never heard an Argentinian death metal band before, I can safely that these guys have nothing to envy to their European or North American peers. In fact, it should be the opposite, they took the often lifeless, cold and mechanical genre and made it a bit warmer than usual. Okay, their name is not the best metal alias ever but they have a cool enough logo to make up for that.

The main reason why I liked this band is the fact they're a student of the Anata School of Technical Death Metal and not a Necrophagist disciple. Yes, it's technical but for a purpose and it's not only for showing off. That's the main issue I have with this genre. Songwriting is the most important thing in music and metal is no exception and I feel that most of the genre is wanking for the sake of showing off the mad skills you got for practicing 10 hours a day in your parents' basement while eating Froot Loops. While entry level dwellers are waiting for the new Suicmez guitar hero album, Anata slowly died. The world is a sad place.

Although they're not strangers to frenetic leads and blastbeats drums patterns, Blood Dress can actually write songs and there's a real will to break out of the boundaries with the introduction and the interlude, I definitely liked this little aspect of the band even though I dislike an avant garde band like Unexpect. I thought it should had been a bigger part of their sound. They have some clean guest singers in some songs like in the amazing Will I Die, by far my favorite track on the album, it's epic and reminds me of progressive death metallists Opeth. This song truly made the album for me, I absolutely liked the mix of clean and harsh vocals and it didn't sound like a modern, asinine and commercial track that a big label requested. Hell, the band isn't signed (they fucking deserve the support of a label)

There's a bigger emphasis on the riffs than in many tech bands and the solos aren't 4 minutes long and can still be enjoyable. The songs can be fast but they like to slow things down like Obscura would but they're not quite inspired by later era Death. Their 2 guitarists have a nice chemistry and I liked their shredding but outside of the special elements I already mentioned, the band is not quite original and inventive. Their slower than usual tech/progressive death metal tracks are good but doesn't deviate from the norm. Not that I wish they would...Okay, yes I do but that's only because I'm not a fan of this kind of death metal and I heard what they can do when they experiment a little. The vocals aren't abnormal for the genre but they're nothing special and are easily forgettable. As many other tech bands, they're not the focus point of the music even if they're competent enough. They remind me of Ross Dolan (Immolation) but with less power and range. Just like the other instruments, there's nothing bad to say to say about the vocals except that they're a bit unmemorable.

Beyond the Flesh is still a good album in its own right and if you enjoy their genre, you'll definitely find something to like here. The production is very good and fully professional, the musicians are skilled and there's enough technicality to please the fans of guitar masturbation and enough melody in the songwriting to please a huge enough percentage of the naysayers. For a first release, the guys properly established their sound with a compact and solid debut, they surely deserve the attention if you enjoy good riffs with your technical death metal.

Blood Dress' homepage

BastardHead's blog (by the way, his taste sucks!)

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