Dead By Wednesday – Darkest of Angels

Dead By Wednesday
The Darkest of Angels
Heavy Metal
Released: 15th July 2016
via EMP Label Group

‘The Darkest of Angels’ is the new album from the American Heavy Metal band Dead by Wednesday. The band was originally formed back in 2005. Since then they have gone through a number of line-up changes, the most recent being the departure of their singer Joe Morbidelli last year due his addiction problems. This album was recorded with the help of several guest vocals including: Brian Fair (Shadows Fall), Rob Dukes (Generation Kill, ex- Exodus) and Jon Arch (Arch/Matheos, ex-Fates Warning) as well as their new singer Rob Roy on one track. All the songs are centered around the theme of addiction.

The departure of the frontman is the type of thing that can make or break a band. As this is my first encounter with Dead By Wednesday, I don’t know much about how they used to sound prior to the line-up changes. Based on what I’ve read, their older material was a mixture of metal and hardcore. This new album is said to be heavier with more emphasis on metal. So let’s see what we have here…

Well for starters, there’s eleven tracks on here each featuring a different vocalist. The music itself is fairly consistent, melodic and mostly guitar-driven heavy metal. Some of the songs incorporate guitar patterns from both groove metal and even the odd metalcore-style break-down added in the mix.  Self-Medicate (feat. Paul Stoddard) is a good example of how all these elements can be successfully combined to produce something memorable. Sadly it’s the vocals that put me off some of the songs such as Power Troopers (feat. Ceschi & David Ramos) which is a mish-mash of System of Down -esque progressive wailing and shouts. Similar things can be said about the cacophony that is Phoenix Rising (feat. Kris Keys). It’s a shame because the guitar riffs are actually pretty good at times.

Highlights include the title track featuring John Arch and The Surgeon featuring the band’s new singer Rob Roy. Out of these, Darkest of Angels is one of the more melodic songs on here which has a certain power metal feel to it due the playful guitar tunes and Mr. Arch’s melodic vocals. What a relief to my sore ears! The other track that I enjoyed is, oddly enough; an acoustic song The Surgeon, the only song to feature the band’s new singer. Based on this I can see that he’s a good vocalist who seems comfortable and more importantly fully capable of clear vocals. It would have been interesting to hear him have a go at the more aggressive vocal styles that are present on this album. Other notable songs include Defining Fire (feat. Antony Hämäläinen & Waylon Reavis) and the thrash metal -tinged Break When I’m Dead (featuring Eric A.K. of Flotsam & Jetsam)’.

Overall this album is probably not the best one to tune into as an introduction to Dead By Wednesday. With so many different singers and a wide variety of different vocal styles it’s really difficult to deduce what these guys actually sound like. I would have preferred to hear more songs with their new singer Rob Roy. Instead this album feels like the band is still trying to find their feet again and establish a new identity.

3/5

Iza Raittila

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