Sound: This is the first album by DT I've bought. Its a 'greatest hits' album, or more accurately, a collection of their singles and best tracks.
First off, I listened to the second track on the album (WMP was on shuffle), Terminus (where death is most alive) and it started with a faded intro that drew me into the style thats become so popular today. A very dance'n'trance-like riff is playeed over some open chords with a groove/nu metal drum rythm which instantly speeds up with some rather strained sounding growls. In every song, they also use the 'buzz saw' tone for most of the track.
Now as that was the first DT song I'd ever heard, I wasnt that interested in it, so I though it'd grow on me with time. Theres only a few tracks out of the 18 (yes, 18!) that really do it for me,
Theres not much diversity in their sound either, it fluxuates between highly melodic but slightly monotonous death metal that just oddly slow down into some wierd nu-metal drum rythms, much like In Flames. Theres hints of black metal everywhere though, like My Negation, which has a rather nice intro but a very Dissection-esque verse with a nice groove to it and minor key melody. The same goes for Misery's Crown, reminds me a lot of Lifelover, which has a highly catchy main piano riff.
The drums are a bit so-so, nothing amazing going on, but they have a nice sound. In one particular track however, The New Build, its mostly written in some oddly timed but fast blast beats and the main riffs are some of my favourites off the album.
The vocals take a bit to get used to, they sound very similar to many Melodeath bands like In Flame and even Eluveitie, but they're not really my thing, especially the growls. The clean vocals arent that great either.
The guitarwork is rather well done with all that being said. The solos in particular and quite a few of the riffs too are catchy and quite technical such as Monochromatic Stains which has a good thrash style riff and a very odd but nice sounding bridge/solo.
Of course, as one of the founders of the style, DT are quite innovative but the same style lingers throughout their almost 20 year history and its been used as a template by many other bands too, so it sounds almost, dare I say, generic. However, most of the music is pretty 'feel-good', lots of catchy riffs and well orchastrated melodies with keyboard sounds.
Overall then, nothing amazing, but feel-good melodic metal music at its best. // 7
Lyrics: From just a few tracks, you can tell the lyrics are a bit odd to listen to. Like all death metal music, you can't really understand everything the singer says, but they have good meanings to them. But when he switches from growls to cleans, they don't have much musical structure to them, ie. they don't rhyme that well, are kind of basic etc.
There are a few themes to go with the music. I think the singer mostly bases his lyrics on things like depression/view of a person in certain pessemistic situations, anarchaic societies and revolution.
Also, his clean singing isnt the best I've ever heard, even the guy from Soilwork does it better. His growls aren't too bad, but a bit hoarse and very similar to a few other bands like Eluveitie.
All in all, not the best out their, but its part of a revolutionary DM movement and I like the feel they give the music. // 6
Overall Impression: As the style is a template for an entire genre, there are quite a few bands that are similar or have a similar style such as In Flames, Eluveitie and Soilwork as mentioned earlier. This was a little dissapointing to me, because its a widely used style and so listening to DT for the first time was a little dull.
The album does have some diamonds in a rather vague sea of topaz (so to speak). These are The New Build, Monochromatic Stains, Treason wall, Undo Control, Haven, Focus Shift and Misery's Crown. They all have certain things about them that stand out from the other songs.
What I like about this album is that its a reminder to appreciate where most of todays melodic metal derives from. Its also some nice feel-good music, if a little undramatic. What I dont like, however, is the generic sound it has and the sometimes dullness of the melodeath template.
If you're relatively new to Death Metal, I'd say this would be a good album to try out and get used to first. I'm glad I bought it though, even if it is a bit soft/lacking compared to other things I've listened to.
And for fans of DT its a good compilation of their singles and hits and probably worth getting if you havent got those songs already. // 7