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Death The Leveller : II

Dublin band Death The Leveller offer a good, solid debut Death/Doom full-length that needs a few listens to sink in.

Death the Leveller are a band founded in Dublin in 2016 by Dave Murphy (Bass), Shane Cahill (Drums) and Gerry Clince (Guitars), with Denis Dowling completing the line up on vocals. The band's name is taken from Death the Leveller, a poem by the English dramatist James Shirley (1595-1666). The music is described as Doom Death with themes of poetry and death. 'II' is the band's second release.

A band slowly finds it's way and identity. Some bands can get lost and you always feel like they're not confident or comfortable in their surroundings. However these guys show enormous promise as they have a great mix of variety and a singer who I feel is still growing. The band even opened for Ereb Altor in Dublin, Ireland on their first live performance in March 2017.

Some great vocal emotions come through on first song 'The Hunt Eternal'. With a vocal range that can cover many variations I think Denis Dowling has controlled himself well on this track. It would be quite easy to go overboard. Heavy guitars build and grow within the track. It slowly all comes together. The quieter parts are emotional and harmonies are soft and soothing. The drums are crisp and vibrant. The pace picks up and steadily transforms the 12 minute song into something really intriguing. I personally love songs that twist and turn, picking up pace, travelling you though an abundance of feelings. I kind of expected the vocals to really take off at the fast paced part but it never came to be and I felt it a bit flat.

As we softly guide into the next song 'The Golden Bough' we are treated to some nice bass alongside a slightly distorted mellow guitar tone. Again the vocal range goes from a soft singing opening to a full on lung busting performance. This song has great emotion running through it and takes off after about six minutes. Maybe some different vocal melodies could have gone around this piece as I feel something was lost across this section. But it's another well put together song and I enjoyed the diversity throughout.

The whole concept of the album is well thought out and I like the history that comes with it. Also the artwork on the CD and the way the inside booklet is presented is really fascinating, making it intriguing to find out what the music would be like. The intro guitars on 'So They May Face The Rising Sun' sound like something straight out of a western. It has that kinda feel to it, almost like building up to something dramatic. This is very melodic and having listened to the album at first I really was not sure about the mix of vocals with the musical side of things. The more you listen the more you can relate to his vocals. Some parts are a little bit weak on the actual melody and I feel that comes across, but you can not at all complain about the effort he puts into it. Like I said, he will grow as a vocalist even more as we all do within our chosen art. This was a warm rich song that showcases the band's ability to change from full-on heavy to dream-like fuzziness.

Dowling's vocals sometimes remind of early Pearl Jam. You don't quite know where his vocal tone is going to go so it can almost sound a bit off at parts. This last track 'The Crossing' is a real downbeat song with loads of washy riffs. It builds again at the end to some really nice guitar parts but it would have been great to end with a big bold track. Having said that, it's a good solid album that needs a few listens before you really can let it all sink in and appreciate the band's talents.

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Reviewer's rating: 7.5/10


Tracklist :
1. The Hunt Eternal
2. The Golden Bough
3. So They May Face The Rising Sun
4. The Crossing

Duration : Approx. 38 minutes

Visit the Death The Leveller bandpage.

Reviewed on 2020-05-24 by Riccardo Veronese
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