THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD’S MALICE: MORE DEATH, LESS CORE
Two words: hol-ee shit. I had no idea this band had it in them. Did you know they had it in them? I sure didn’t know they had it in them.
If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d have told you that Through the Eyes of the Dead was a deathcore band – and not an especially memorable one, at that. But on Malice, which comes out today on Prosthetic, they pretty much completely abandon the core in favor of a straight up dose of death metal. And like a shot of absinthe, it may not go down easy, but it’ll make see you fairies and elves and shit. Now I’m walking down the street, screaming at strangers: “Day by day, we rid the world of evil/ But the blood’s still on our HHHHAAAANNNNNDDDDSSS!!!”
Seriously: this band just unloads brutal riff after brutal riff, pummeling breakdown after pummeling breakdown. This isn’t just music fit for a pit; it’s music for breaking into someone’s house while they sleep and doing some seriously fucked up shit to their family. I mean, I don’t know if these dudes took songwriting classes or what since the release of their last album, the incredibly mixed bag that was Bloodlust, but this album kills (Seriously: I played it for my Nana and she immediately grabbed her chest and collapsed. Bye bye, Nana.). And it’s epic to boot: the choruses of “Failure in the Flesh” and “The Undead Parade” make me want to ride through some village on the back of a huge black steed with, like, a horse skull where its face should be, mow people down with my mace or scythe or whatever and then rape and pillage whoever is unfortunate enough to survive, and then carve their eyes out with said mace or scythe and piss in their eye sockets. Yes, this album is that fucking good.
A lot of the credit probably lies with the Almighty, Erik Rutan. This dude has been kicking ass and taking names since his Morbid Angel days, and aside from his ass-rippingly awesome work these past few year with bands like The Absence, Vital Remains, and his own Hate Eternal, last year he actually made Cannibal Corpse cool again with his production on Kill. The guy is a notorious slave driving perfectionist in the studio, so it’s no wonder that the performances here are so great (Josh Kulick might be my new favorite drummer, and guitarists Justin Longshore and Chris Anderson are just… smokin’); but what one should really appreciate about Rutan’s work is how he makes everything feel so fucking HUGE without ever allowing it to sound overly artificial; in other words, it’s not hard for me to believe that, if I were in a room with TTEOTD as they did a live performance of the album, this is pretty much what they’d sound like.
And, of course, the fact that new vocalist Nate Johnson has actually has some balls and rarely if ever resorts to the kind of screeching his predecessor Anthony Gunnells so often utilized doesn’t hurt, either. If this dude isn’t actually from the seventh level of Hell, then he has for sure vacationed and taken vocal lessons there.
How do I put this is the simplest language possible? If you don’t like this album, you probably need to be tested for mental retardation. Go listen to the new Atreyu instead, you fuckwad.
(four and a half out of five horns)
Buy Malice through MetalSucks. Yes, you actually need to own a physical copy of this CD, you cheap fuck.