Released: 2013, Underground Symphony
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Dead Soul’s ‘Planning Your Funeral’ is a death/thrash metal release that’s filled with crunchy, grooving breakdowns and melodies that are sure to get anyone invigorated whether or not they’re listeners of either genre. However one of the album’s biggest downfalls is its production and structure amidst the catchy and atmospheric music.
The percussion line, while often very good across the album, is far too loud on the mix, overshadowing both guitar and vocal lines. Backing vocals, when they do appear, are shamefully quiet, with the bass line being virtually non-existent save for the opening and closing tracks. While it is clear to see what the band had intended to achieve through this style of production, it nonetheless comes across as incredibly sloppy and unpolished. The panning and quality isn’t a downfall whatsoever in terms of production, however certain choices made in the production process definitely leaves a bad mark on the album.
In terms of songwriting and creativity, Dead Soul are a band that reach the surface of brilliance, yet never quite make it through. The hooks, riffs, texture and structure are all nicely done, if a little underdeveloped. Guitar and percussion lines are performed in a way that’s as skilled as it is detailed, with moments of sharp intensity and dominant tonality. However with all this being said the album, unfortunately, lacks any sense of cohesion or refinement whatsoever. The track ‘P.M.D’ is incredibly dark and twisted in both melody and execution; however it’s the only song from the entire album that actually feels as if it makes use of both death/thrash metal influences. The rest of the album feels as if elements of other bands that have inspired Dead Soul were thrown into the mix, without any consideration as to the quality of their presence.
This isn’t to say that the album doesn’t have its moments, of course, the closing track ‘Grab The Sand’ is devastatingly heavy and really captures the listeners’ attention. The vocals, while strained, are passionate and engaging, with each instrument standing out in its own right in terms of melody and aesthetic. These moments of greatness unfortunately are few and far between, with the rest of the album feeling more of a compilation of unwanted riffs and breakdowns. The biggest gripe ‘Planning Your Funeral’ has is the fact that it relies so much on the formulaic sounds and structures from other metal bands. While the idea of following a structure is important for any musician, on this album it feels as if it’s the only thing stopping the album from collapsing in on itself.
Overall my impression of ‘Planning Your Funeral’ is not a particularly pleasant one. There are certainly aspects of the album that are enjoyable, and intriguing to listen to, however the mediocre standard of songwriting, performance and production combined results in an album that’s feels as repetitive as it does shallow. I think ‘Planning Your Funeral’ could be an important lesson for the band in terms of where to improve upon, and thus may be invaluable for them in the future. For the time being however, it’s not worth a single play-through.
Review by Eoin Harnett