Dystrophy / Dethroned Emporer - Split Cassette
My knowledge of death metal, and all metal for that matter, is very limited. Like many people I was restricted to the outer shell of metal that the mainstream presented on mtv and rock radio for most of my adolescence. In a strange twist of fate, I started listening to Slayer when someone told me that some Earth Crisis riffs had been lifted directly from "Reign in Blood"(As I typed that sentence I almost hear the cry of a thousand metalheads sreaming "noooo"). After seeing through the aesthetics and really giving bands like Crytopsy and Slayer a listen, I found that their technical guitar work and double bass drum expertise was quite literally music to my ears. Though, admittedly, I'm still not a fan of the vocals.
Dethroned Emporer is a duo from New Brunswick, consisting of just drums and guitar. Despite the lack of bass, this music doesn't sound very empty. Perhaps it's the fact that riffs are very intricate and fast moving while the drums seemed to have a non stop assault of very fast bass drum work. They deliver 8 quick tracks, none of which break a minute and a half. They also included a cover of Crytopsy's "Benedictine Convulsions". The vocals are your standard death metal growls, but it sits just right in the mix that it's not distracting or overpowering. I wouldn't mind hearing a little better recording production on the drums because I have a hunch this drummer is doing way more than what's coming across on tape. While the members of this band would consider this death metal, I'm also hearing some straight up, raw grind in the song writing. It's a relentless arrangement of songs that doesn't ever stop pushing you. If you're in a bad mood then these songs will probably fuel your rage.
Dystrophy bring a versatility in their interpretation on metal here. They bring your frantic guitar runs and double bass, but they also leave room for some melodic breaks, and at times, also feature some acoustic guitar. The recording is done well and you get a great emphasis on the intricacies of each instrument. The vocals don't adhere to the standard death metal growl throughout. There's variation between parts vocally, which I find pretty thoughtful. The breakdown and solo at the end "Demise" stood out to me; it just seems pretty perfectly executed. The dueling guitar harmonies and speed picking are layered throughout these songs and really shine with technical proficiency. Compared to Dethroned Emperor, Dystrophy seems to have less emphasis on the chugging guitar and blast beats and sit a bit more with the high end melody aspect of things. The two bands compliment each other well on this split. If you're a fan of metal this will be a good way for you to hear two very different bands on one split.
Check out the Dystrophy side here.
The Dethroned Emperor side is not online, but you can hear them here.