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dead on both shouldersThe power and creative freedom bestowed upon today’s youth by the low cost and ease of use of recording technology has had a profound impact on the way bands form, record, and show their wares to the world. Sure, this means that we end up with 19,000 more <insert trend here> bands than we ever wanted, but it also means that truly talented kids are given a voice to speak to the world, which even only 10 years ago would’ve been impossible. I spent countless high school hours holed up in my bedroom with my digital Roland 8-track recorder, which at the time was the absolute shizz, but I never had a way to get that music out to the world (not that it necessarily would’ve been worth hearing by the world’s ears, but ya know, just sayin’); all I could do was bounce it down to a cassette tape and pass it around to friends and family.

In any case, MS reader Tristan Zemtseff is one such dude who, had he been born a decade earlier, surely wouldn’t have been able to have his talent recognized, at least such a young age. Tristan is only 17, and recorded most of the music for his Dead on Both Shoulders solo project when he was just 16 — sixteen, folks — and his record is better and more creative than at least 95% (if not more) of the stuff readers send us on a daily basis.

Of course, his age isn’t the only reason you should pay attention to Dead on Both Shoulders; the music Tristan has written is just damn good, very good. It doesn’t fall into any patterned metal cliches and does a great job of mixing up influences from all over the map; it could be loosely described as “progressive,” but only in that Tristan experiments with unorthodox time signatures and song structures… you won’t find any prog noodling here. The playing is tight, the composition and arrangements remarkably mature, the recording crisp, the mixing well-suited for the style of metal… and here’s the best part: he did it all himself. Aside from some help from bassist and co-writer John Henry Levin, Tristan played all the instruments, mixed and mastered this beast. And given the quality of the output, that’s impressive for anyone of any age.

Enough rambling: check out Dead on Both Shoulders on Bandcamp. You can stream the entire record The Beginning of the Beginning for free.


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