Meliah Rage, now there is a name that I haven't heard in… well, let's just say it's been a long time since I have seen this band's name pop up, and even longer since I have heard any music from this Boston-based metal outfit. They are one of those bands that have seemingly been around forever, but that I cannot recall what they sound like, or any details about them, for that matter. I read that this incarnation of the band features all of the original band members, save for vocals, where Paul Souza takes up the duties.
The first thing that struck me about The Deep and Dreamless Sleep was the cover art. It bears a striking resemblance to Opeth's masterpiece Blackwater Park. It gives the impression that the album contains black metal, gloom metal, or some other piece of the extreme. Even the title gives the impression of something dark with a European flavor. But knowing just a little about Meliah Rage should be enough to tell you otherwise. This is a band that rode the thrash wave in the second half of the 1980s.
Musically, the album is a solid entry in the category of traditional metal. There is nothing extreme here, but it also doesn't try to have a style that tries to mimic what is already out there. Sure, you may find some touches of recent styles here and there, but nothing that overwhelms the metal ethic that comes through. The Deep and Dreamless Sleep has more in common with old school Metallica than it does Opeth, or even modern Metallica!
Blending power metal and thrash, this album delivers the traditional headbanging goods. Galloping riffs, solos, some nice double bass action, and gruff-with-a-touch-of-clean vocal deliveries combine for an album that is good, if unspectacular. There are a few standout tracks that make it worthwhile, and with a brisk running time of 36 minutes, there isn't enough time to become overly disappointed with it. In fact, it moves by so fast that if you focus on the metallic guitars, which highlight the album, you may be able to avoid noticing the lame lyrical content. I admit I didn't listen to every word sung, but what I did listen to just did not strike me as being all that compelling. I kept my focus on the head-banging guitars and the great chugga riffs and some moodier melodic sections.
When you start listening, there are some places to pay closer attention to than others. First, there is the moody title track which slows down the thrash and delivers moody, booming, and slightly epic power metal. Follow that with the pure metal sing-along of "Twisted Wreck" which is just fun (remember to watch out for that tree). Move on to the pure old school thrash of "Curse," a song that evokes images of being in the midst of a mass of headbanging metalheads. Finally there is "Last of the Wanted," a moody piece that has a very cool guitar riff. It is a dark song that sucks you in and holds onto you for the duration. It isn't fast or particularly heavy, but just deliciously dark.
Bottom line. Nothing groundbreaking here. Mediocre lyrics are the worst offender, despite Souza's more than capable vocal style. The guitars of Anthony Nichols and Jim Koury are the backbone of the music, and the main reason to listen to it. The production quality is high, it sounds great. Worth checking out if you are in need of a metal dosing.