There are many amazing-old school metal bands out there today, but the bands themselves are exactly what the term means: old-school. Sure you have all these bands from some thirty years ago, but some aren’t even around anymore, which means you need a new wave of bands that have a sound that’s like the old stuff to carry the torch. DEATH PENALTY’S debut album definitely has that old sound to it. Currently signed with Rise Above Records, DEATH PENALTY is an old-school kind of band, especially when it comes to the vocals, the only difference being that they are part of a new wave of metal.
The group has a sound like no other, being very original. The guitar melodies are beautiful, and very harmonic, not to mention the vocals matching the guitar rhythms perfectly. The riffs are great for anyone looking for an energetic sound, being very quickly paced and what not. The opening track, “Grotesque Horizon” leads into the song “Howling at the Throne of Decadence” so smoothly, definitely setting the mood. The song has a really melodic sound and feel to it; it defines the sound for the whole album, what you hear is what you get. The album itself has a groove to it, being an overall very enjoyable work of music.
Like most old metal, the vocals are very clean and smooth, but aggressive at the same time. “Into the Ivory Frost” is a great example of this. The guitar melodies are the best parts of the whole thing, repetitive is the last thing it is. As mentioned before, the rhythm guitar is very quickly paced, but is also complex, in musicality and speed. The solos are also very intricate; the best one on the disc comes during “Golden Tides”, it’s of a very slow tempo, but is still in a kind of “happy” tone.
The only not-so-good feature of the album is that on most of the verses, the vocals match the guitar notes the whole time. Although the voice is very clean and groovy, it gets slightly boring when all the vocals do is match pitch. It’s not that they aren’t good, but they could be varied a bit more than they are. The band does sound a bit like BLACK SABBATH because of the way their riffs are arranged, but they are way different when it comes to most of their guitar solos.
DEATH PENALTY’S self-titled album is overall just a great piece of work, at least musically. The guitars are very melodic, and the vocals are just a groove all the way through. Although they could work on them being more complex than they are, it’s still an enjoyable record, and definitely deserves a thumbs up.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Into the Ivory Frost”, “Children of the Night”, “She is a Witch”, “Written by the Insane”
WRITTEN BY “THRASHER” SMITH