Released: 2009, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
When Roadrunner Records signed Atlanta, Georgia’s Daath and began the promotional onslaught for 2007’s THE HINDERERS, one would have thought this band had not only re-invented heavy metal, but could walk on water and cure cancer—all by one fell swoop of a guitar. It was ridiculous the pomp and hyperbole put into selling Daath to the fickle masses and THE HINDERERS was delivered with such lofty expectations, many in the press had problems getting past the rhetoric. Even looking back at it today, THE HINDERERS remains a solid but terribly disjointed album.
Skip ahead two years and THE CONCEALERS finds Daath in a very different position. Moving over to Century Media Records and with a new vocalist on board and Kevin Talley rooted firmly behind the drumkit (Talley split duties with two other skin-bashers on THE HINDERERS), Daath has streamlined its lineup and written some truly top-notch songs here. Classically-schooled guitarist Eyal Levi, along with fellow six-stringer Emil Werstler, unleash some killer leads and tastefully-done solos that buoy a more focused and cohesive record. The industrial elements are gone (along with keyboardist Mike Kameron) and the band’s overall sound has tightened up giving Daath essentially a clean slate for THE CONCEALERS to stake its claim.
Arguably one of the best album openers of the year, “Sharpen The Blades” proves Daath is no longer resting on PR fluff, big-name producers and hot-shot guest spots. Levi and Werstler lay down turbo-charged leads that sizzle with intense death metal melodies. “The Unbinding Truth” is just as powerful with soaring melodies and a twisted outro that is undeniably creepy in its presentation. Going for the anthemic angle, “Self-Corruption Manifesto” utilizes a vicious pacing and Chimaira-like groove-filled chorus to liven up the pits. Mixing up tempos on “The Worthless,” the song bristles with a furious energy and is sure to be a fan favorite. Kevin Talley lays down some of his best drum work to date here, as well. Likewise, “Incestuous Amplification” is Talley’s moment in the spotlight as he bashes away in a rock-solid, double-bass fuelled frenzy. Having already been road-tested following the abrupt departure of Sean Farber six months after the release of THE HINDERERS, new growler, Sean Z, is clearly the right man for the job. Big, throaty vocals and deep roars are clearly his strong point (no syrupy clean vocals here) and while nothing exceptional, Z gets the job done and adds a certain charisma on record, as well.
THE HINDERERS absolute low-point was the dreadful “Dead On The Dance Floor,” a techno-beat driven abortion that tried to merge death metal and European club music with the expected disastrous result. While not nearly as bad as that wretched abomination, Daath brings the insidious keyboards back into the fold for “...Of Poisoned Sorrows” and “Duststorm.” Thankfully leaving them in the background this time rather than driving the songs, the usage of keyboards doesn’t seem nearly as forced but still serves no real purpose within the grand scheme of the music.
Many accolades should be heaped upon Daath for coming out of several drastic—and potentially career-ending—changes over the past two years. Losing their lead vocalist and being forced to pull out of Ozzfest during the crest of THE HINDERERS’ touring cycle left many wondering whether the band had imploded before it really got off the ground. But snubbing the critics and coming back with a vengeance on THE CONCEALERS should renew many others’ faith in the band, as Daath is firing on all cylinders and going right for the jugular with an inspiring and phoenix-like rise from the ashes.
KILLER KUTS: “Sharpen The Blades,” “Self-Corruption Manifesto,” “The Unbinding Truth,” “Day of Endless Light,” “Incestuous Amplification”