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Music Review: Through the Eyes of the Dead – Skepsis

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Through the Eyes of the Dead is a band that I've heard of but never really had any interest in checking out. It wasn't that I had heard something I didn't like. My disinterest was completely random, underscored by the fact that I cannot listen to everything no matter how much I want to. So, on occasion my brain will make a snap decision as I peruse the shelves, deciding what is and what isn't worth my time. In many cases, such as with Through the Eyes of the Dead, my decision is made through indifference more than anything else. In any case, that indifference has come to an end and all I can say is "Wow."

Skepsis is far from being a great album. Still, I am hard pressed to point to something else I have listened to recently that matches its pure ferocity. They go straight for the jugular and do not let up for over 40 minutes. Through the Eyes of the Dead is deathcore at its most ferocious, reminiscent of of DevilDriver and The Black Dahlia Murder.

The band seems raw and focused as they emerge on the other side of internal strife. I do not know any details, but they have gone through a number of line-ups since forming back in 2003. In fact, only one original member remains, guitarist Justin Longshore. That could no have been too helpful as they made their way through their first two albums, but hopefully now they will find some level of stability.

Now, if you want an album you can sink you fists into, this could fill the bill. Face-pummeling double bass, jackhammer-in-the-throat vocals, and some chugging riffs combine in a fashion that allows the music easy access to the grey matter. It does not wait to travel through your auditory canals; why bother when it can just punch its way through your skull?

The album opens with a do-nothing introductory track called "Parasite Thone." I truly believe its only purpose is to ease you into the first genuine song, "Dementia." The chord strike and fierce drumming may have proven too much for the faint of heart during listening tests, necessitating the inclusion of said introductory track.

"Dementia" is a pretty insane track that covers a lot of ground. The song keeps the pace fast throughout, slowing down only slightly for a more traditionally core sound with headbanging rhythm guitar and blasting double bass before kicking back into the downright speed.

The second song, "No Haven," has an awesome opening. The guitars have this off-kilter sound and combine with the vocals that range from high pitched to guttural. The song is not nearly as fast-paced as "Dementia," but the energy is there, ready to rip your throat out should you turn your back for even a brief moment.

The most interesting thing about this album is the way the songs nearly blend into each other while each brings something a little different to the table, making for a fascinating dichotomy. If you are listening casually you will probably find yourself checking every so often to see where you are in the album and wonder how you got there so fast. At the same time, if you are paying a little closer attention, you will hear that each song does bear similarity to the one that came before, but you will also notice that each song has its own flavor, including differences in speed, how the vocals are layered, and how the guitar attacks. Each song brings something more of what the prior had to offer. Such reveals good songwriting and a growth in the band that should continue to develop with each subsequent album.

Still, I do not always want to listen for subtle differences in neighborly songs. Sometimes all I want is an album that can act as stress reliever, something that releases aggression and takes no prisoners. Skepsis is perfect for that.

Bottomline. I am glad to have had this experience. It makes me curious about the band's prior releases, but more than that, it makes me look forward to what they are going to offer next. Skepsis is an album that the deathcore fan will want to take note of. Their sound is a finely honed example of ferocious aggression, insane double bass, bloody vocals and guitars, all of it wanting to leave your skull a bloody caved-in bowl.

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