|Musical Style: Metal/Thrash||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: US|
|Year Released: 2006||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 8||Rating: 70%|
|Running Time: 43:15|
Southern California based Debellum can trace its history to 2000 when guitarist Joel Silva joined forces with vocalist Tim Anderson. The two soon recruited the rhythm section of drummer Orlando Castellon and bassist Eddie Roheweller, not rounding out the groups line up until acquiring a second guitarist in Jesse Lopez. The new five piece unit proceeded to choose the name Debellum, a moniker that means “war” in Latin or, more precisely, “to have victory in war”. The type of warfare in question, of course, is spiritual. In the bands own words: “We are soldiers, but not soldiers of this world, soldiers of God under His command to do His work.”
Legacy Of Blood, the 2006 independently released full length debut of Debellum, can best be described as a blend of metal and thrash not unlike Boarders, Antithesis, Incarnate and old school Bride (think Live To Die and Silence Is Madness). Those whose musical tastes stray towards the aggressive side of things - Deliverance, Ultimatum, Metallica and Megadeth come to mind – should find a lot to like in Debellum as well.
One of the strengths Debellum brings to the table is its ability to compose a song that is extremely heavy but catchy at the same time. Album opener “Thousand Years”, plodding “Legacy Of Blood”, animated “Rapture” and bass guitar driven “Abyss” reflect this best, all heavy hitters that feature pronounced chorus hooks guaranteed to keep you coming back time and again. “Eternal Darkness”, in contrast, is an ominous doom-laden piece and “Beneath” a poignant semi-ballad. “Valley Of The Dry Bones” and “Beyond The Grave”, two numbers coming in at the seven minute range, round things out with their technical prowess.
Frontman Tim Anderson brings a gritty and mid-ranged vocal presence that hints at Egi (Boarders) and Ty Cook (Antithesis). He displays his versatility, however, by occasionally cutting loose with a high pitched falsetto not unlike Dale Thompson (Bride). Jesse Lopez and Joel Silva form a monster guitar team. The likes of “Thousand Years”, “Legacy Of Blood” and “Rapture” find the two hitting on all cylinders with their lightning-like lead work. As a matter of fact, Debellum proves without a doubt they are right at home when displaying their instrumental sound, as is aptly demonstrated on the lengthy instrumental sections gracing “Eternal Darkness” and “Valley Of The Dry Bones”.
Outside of songwriting and performance, Debellum makes every mistake in the book.
Packaging is first. The album artwork is inadequate, consisting of a dark gold to brown logo that bleeds into a black background- making it very difficult to real. No lyrics were included either.
The second is production. At the risk of sounding blunt, this is one of the weakest production jobs I have heard in some time. One of the main problems is that everything is mixed “low”. What I mean by that is that on almost every sound system I listed to the CD I have to push the volume nearly to 10 in order to hear it clearly- and often that does not work. It almost sounds as if the guys were time warped back to the mid-eighties and recorded a demo using the cheapest equipment they could find. Again, I hate to be blunt but what makes the production that much more disappointing is the quality of the songwriting here.
“Thousand Years” represents power thrash at its finest. From the chugging riffs, to the technical time changes, to the catchy chorus, to the pulsating bass lines and blinding soloing, this one gives the group the perfect opportunity to showcase its abilities. Apocalyptic lyrical direction as well. The only complaint is the muffled narration closing out the songs final seconds (sounds like some random guy in the studio talking into a microphone).
“Legacy Of Blood” gets underway to a driving instrumental introduction that gradually builds to a crescendo of sledgehammer riffs. The song proceeds to take off with a plethora of abandon, rushing ahead in full fury until culminating for an anthem-like chorus that tapers in a near doom-like manner at its end. A stretch of melodic guitar harmony upholds a sweeping instrumental section.
The semi-ballad “Beneath” is one of the albums more moving pieces. The blend of quietly played guitar and technical lead guitar opening the song soon gives way to a dominant guitar riff. “Beneath” tapers back to a quietly played guitar at the start of its first verse, crawling ahead slowly until the rhythm guitar returns and leads the way to a chorus allowing Tim Anderson to exhibit his emotionally charged vocal abilities. Nice time changes and poignant feel to this one.
A prominently placed bass line upholds “Rapture” its full distance. Up-tempo in leaning, the song brings a near perfect joining of classic metal and thrash with its crushing guitar sound and lengthy instrumental section featuring time changes galore. A galloping chorus comes across near stalwart in capacity.
“Eternal Darkness”, a slow and driving number with a doom-like vibe, gives the guys the opportunity to display their instrumental sound. The song opens its first minute and a half to an instrumental based opening carried by some technical riffing backed by pounding drums while a second instrumental section is driven by a mega-tight joining of rhythm guitar and soloing. “Eternal Darkness” even closes out its final minute to a stretch of doom-tinged rhythm guitar.
“Abyss” moves in the more up-tempo heading. Exuding a spirited impetus its full length, the song joins an aggressive chorus sustained by harshly driven backing vocals with a bottom heavy low end and snarling mix of rhythm guitar. Anderson’s raspy vocal delivery lends to the dark and swarthy environs. Nice hook here as well.
“Valley Of The Dry Bones” begins its first two minutes to a calmly played but foreboding instrumental opening. The song proceeds to take off in raucous fashion after a brazen rhythm guitar fades in, pummeling its way ahead until culminating for a driving chorus delivered with a plethora of hard hitting impetus. A two minute instrumental section carried by a bristling guitar solo tops things off.
“Beyond The Grave” jumps out of the gate to a forward bass line and falsetto scream from Anderson. Roaring its remaining distance at a romping upbeat tempo, the song brings another intense chorus and just the right amount of thrash flavored initiative to help it rank with the albums best. I enjoy how “Beyond The Grave” fades out at its end and then fades back in to a sinister instrumental section shored up by a quietly played rhythm guitar.
The best way to summarize would be to state that Legacy Of Blood is an excellent album musically. The band leaves little doubt as to its ability to put together a quality composition and back it with top of the line musicianship. That said, the albums production values are particularly disappointing- and all the more so when factoring in the quality of the music. At this point, we are left with no other option than to hope the guys decide to re-record Legacy Of Blood from scratch or give us an album of all new material- with improved production values of course!
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Thousand Years” (5:02), “Legacy Of Blood” (5:28), “Beneath” (4:57), “Rapture” (4:23), “Eternal Darkness” (5:38), “Abyss” (4:01), “Valley Of The Dry Bones” (7:08), “Beyond The Grave” (6:39)
Tim Anderson – Lead Vocals
Jesse Lopez – Guitars
Joel Silva – Guitars
Eddie Roheweller – Bass
Orlando Castellon - Drums