Sound: This album is a unique blend of Metal, Thrash, Melodic Death Metal and, according to wikipedia, Doom Metal. It sounds like an unlikely mix - but wow, it works. This has remained one of my favourite albums for a long time and it seems unlikely to change. In Dread Response's line-up for this album is Sean 'Ginge" O'Kane Connolly on vocals, Trajan Shwencke and Any Chandler on guitar, Steve Boag on bass, and Cory Freidlander on drums. They are all fantastic musicians, and great songwriters. Trajan also produced the album, and did the art. I have to say, the production on this album is pretty damn good too.
A track by track run through of the album:
01. "Viral Grounds": A pretty thrash/melodeath-oriented song, lots of blast beats, quick double kicks, fast guitar parts, and trade-off solos.
02. "I Paint The World In Solitude": Another pretty thrash-oriented song, fast double kicks, fast guitar passages, and Sean O'Kane Connolly belting it on vocals.
03. "Cannons At Dawn": Generally recognised as one of the stand out songs on the album. Again, a nice mix of thrash/melodeath. Guitarwise, the song rotates a couple of different sections that change time signature and flick between major, minor, and some sort of modal key throughout the song. The solos are slick, the actual riffs are incredibly catchy. The drums on this track are outstanding, flicking between uber quick snare rolls, quick double kicks, and flashy fills. Lyrically this is also a standout track.
04. "Scarecrows In The Sky": Not a bad track at all, but imho one of the weaker ones on this album. Still quite thrashy.
05. "Concrete Sanctuary": Here the album slows down a bit. This song is more melodeath than anything else, with beautiful guitar melodies and quick rhythm parts. Again, we see blast beats and very slick drumming. The outro on this track drags a bit, but I enjoy this track.
06. "Rememberance": Another stand out track for me. Still very very melodic, with fantastic instrumentalism (as seems to be a trend on this album) and good few lyrical gems making an appearance on this song.
07. "Lost Avenues": I love this track. It has a 1 and a half minute clean into before launching into a typical IDR barrage on uber quick snare rolls, heart-wrenching melody, and a good dose of headbanginess. Another dose of lyrical genius on this one. Quite long (8:14), but definitely a favourite for me.
08. "Call Of The Carrion": Seems to be the most doom metal oriented - can't say I love this track, but it's not bad at all. Sean exhibits some uncharacteristic low growls and there is a clean backing vocal. Good effort.
09. "Stillborn Kingdom": Going back to melodeath here, we see some slick harmonized guitars, good vocal lines, and typically brutal drumwork. Solid song.
10. "The Begotten": Another great song displaying In Dread's characteristic rapid-fire guitar chords combined with quick riffs. Good lyrics, and outstanding instrumentals. Love this song.
11. "Black Soterion": Another great song. Great lyrics, great instrumentals. Drums that break your speakers. They have managed to recycle on the same 2 riffs for almost 5 minutes during the intro, but that's my only complaint. Another long one - (11:22).
In conclusion - great vocals, great guitar and bass, great drums. Great songs. // 9
Lyrics: Sean O'Kane Connolly has painted words that match the music. There are lyrical gems in there (look to "Cannons", "Rememberance", and "Lost Avenues" for my favorites), but Sean enjoys multisyllabic words. (The last verse of "Cannons At Dawn" is "Yea, I circumvent the dolmens of azure, contemplating creatures tangled in cerulean immures. Never to be emitted from the oceanic graves, from the dismal grip of Thanatos we have escaped.")
"Cannons" is about battles and Greek mythology, "Rememberance" seems to be a song to somebody they've lost, and every song has a very different meaning and message. Lyrically I found this album a joy. Vocally, Sean is pretty unique. He favours midrange growls, occasionally performing lows and highs, but it fits the music. He has a unique timbre to his vocals that can sound blood-curdling or mournful, depending on the song. // 9
Overall Impression: This album is exceptionally hard to compare with anything out there, as it doesn't neatly slot into any one genre. It's mostly melodic death with obvious thrash and groove influences though, but again, sounds entirely different to anything else already existing. The most impressive song is probably "Cannons At Dawn", closely followed by the likes of "Concrete Sanctuary", "Viral Grounds", "Rememberence", "Lost Avenues", and "The Begotten".
This is a fantastic album, and I love it to pieces. If I was being really picky, they tend to belabour riffs in some songs (particularly "Black Soterion" and "Concrete Sanctuary"), but that's a minor point seeing they pull it off so well. Vocally, lyrically, musically, this album is amazing and I suggest you buy it immediately. While you're at it, buy their 2nd album "Embers In A Spiritless Void" while you're at it - it a lil bit heavier again.
I've seen these guys live, and they blew me away. They sound impeccable and are extremely tight live, as well as being incredibly solid people. If this album was stolen, I would buy another without hesitation. And track down the thief and ask Ginge to whip him in the face with his hair. Fantastic effort. // 10