Infected Rain frontwoman Lena Scissorhands has started up a new band, Death Dealer Union. Describing themselves as gothic metal, they explore everything from death metal to symphonic to hard rock. Said band just released its debut album a couple of days go. I’m a pretty big fan of her original band, so have been excited to get in and check this out!
After the brief synth-led intro track, ‘The Vow of Silence’ opens on Lena’s effortlessly fantastic clean vocals before the listener is rocked by an awesome, heavy riff. The sound is massive, the big distorted power chords, great guitar melody and the synth behind it packing out the every part of the sound. It’s not long before her fantastic scream comes in over the top. It adds a layer of heaviness over the lighter, more melodic instrumentation.
The chorus is cleaner, a lot closer to symphonic metal than anything else. It reminds me a lot of Nightwish or Within Temptation. I actually don’t think it fits all that well between the harsher vocals, it kinda comes out of nowhere. Having said that, it’s a great chorus. And it does fit a little better the second time after a clean bridge/pre-chorus. And we get a pretty awesome guitar solo! Overall, it’s a good track and a fantastic introduction to the band’s variety of sounds.
Most recent single ‘ILL FATED’ is awesome. The main riff running through it is a simple, foot-stomping metal jaunt that will get even the most cynical of heads bobbing and foots tapping. The verses dropping down to a more stripped-back, cleaner sound whenever Lena sings is also a great idea. It’s also an awesome chorus, massively catchy thanks to the doubled vocals and the scream behind it. The heavy parts too, be it the pre or the bridge, are awesome too. It’s a simple yet great track, and easily makes it onto our playlist!
‘Ekphrasis’ opens on another heavy, almost sludgy riff. Lena’s death metal screams fit perfectly over the top. So too does her beautiful, soaring clean vocals, though. The stripped-back verses build perfectly into a huge, power metal chorus. It’s again catchy as anything, and I can hear it easily being played in arenas around the world. We also get an awesome guitar melody over a slower, clean bit in the middle to break up the track, something I wasn’t expecting at all. It wasn’t quite a solo, but definitely acted like one. This was another amazing track, and I’m really starting to get into this album by this point.
Single ‘The Integument’ again bursts straight in with the riff, this taking much more of a NWOBHM/thrash approach. Heck, we even get a very Kirk Hammett solo in the opening. The higher tempo was a refreshing change of pace and Lena’s vocal melodies and harmonies throughout were AMAZING. The screams are reserved for the pres for this track, ensuring that both the verses and choruses are catchy as hell.
I loved it slowing down and dropping back to a beautiful clean bridge too in the middle, leading to a slower, more emotion and feel driven guitar solo. It builds up perfectly too into a more heavy, epic final verse and chorus. I LOVE this track. It wears all of its inspirations on its sleeve, be it Metallica, Judas Priest or even still Nightwish. I’d have been obsessed with this in my youth, being such a big fan of the first two bands. Another that easily makes the playlist!
The sludgy riffing returns with ‘Mythos’. It’s another track that leans more into the symphonic side of the bands sound, to great effect. It’s another catchy as hell metal track with a phenomenal guitar solo tucked in the middle, even featuring some awesome harmonies in it! And the screams for the bridge and outro give it some added fun heaviness.
The same sort of thing could be said about ‘The Big Blue’, ‘Back to Me’, and ‘Anew’. All three are good tracks, but are pretty similar to others on the album. I simply feel that the review would get boring if I repeat the same thing over and over!
‘The Downfall’ is fairly similar to the others, however I love the added emphasis on synth. In the heavier parts it gave off almost Children of Bodom vibes. And it’s full of more catchy melodies and harmonies from the vocals, which always helps! It has some of my favourite harsh vocals on the album too through the verses.
‘Love Me When I’m Ugly’ is the slower, ballad track of the album. The lyrics are packed full of emotion and fit perfectly over the mostly clean guitars. Still, when it does get heavy and distorted, the riffing is sick. And the chorus is again infectiously catchy. It also feels like it gets a tad proggy in the middle with the changes in the bridge and the drop down. It’s a really awesome song and well worth checking out if you like things slower!
The final track, ‘Beyond Heaven’, is the longest and most epic of the songs on the album. After a slow piano build of an intro, it heads into a quick, chuggy verse that still feels like it’s building up. It all leads to a massive chorus at around the two minute mark. It’s another arena-filling sound, for sure. We also get another trademark great guitar solo in the middle, adding so much to the track. It’s a fantastic way to close the album and really draws together everything we have heard throughout. Great stuff!
Overall: This grew on me so much throughout the album. While the opening track didn’t quite hook me in, ‘ILL FATED’ did, and by the time I reached ‘The Integument’ I was hooked ’till the end. The whole band are massively talented players and writers and it showed throughout the whole 50+ minutes of this release. I feel like it’d somehow be even better live, too! A really unique album in terms of genre-combinations and sounds, and one I’ll definitely be spinning again!
The Score: 8/10