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Dead at the Scene - "Sharktopus" (CD/EP)

Dead at the Scene - "Sharktopus" CD/EP cover image

"Sharktopus" track listing:

1. Daae
2. Echoes
3. Fireworks
4. Turns Out He's Luke’s Father
5. Paint The Sky

Reviewed by on August 31, 2010

"If Dead at the Scene was from the U.S. or Canada it is without a doubt the band would be picked up and signed by almost any metal label."

First off; do not let the ridiculous album title fool you. “Sharktopus” is a serious slab of technical, melodic, and forward-thinking metal. Mashing together the progressive complexities of Between the Buried and Me with the catchy style of All That Remains, Dead at the Scene has announced their arrival and makes a grand entrance with this 5 track EP.

It’s hard for a young band aiming to make an impact with a self-released EP, and making that even harder is the fact this group comes from Scotland, but Dead at the Scene impress on many levels with “Sharktopus.” Leading off with “Daae,” the band attacks the listener with an aggressive, speedy, and compact approach to progressive metalcore. Meshuggah-like subtleties find their way into the intricate riffing while impressive lead work sweeps its way across the fret board. The vocal work is nothing unique or new, but does not detract from a good song and definitely does not come across as being weak, as even the short stint of clean signing adds to the track. From the lower end hardcore style to a higher raspy approach, the vocals fit well for the overall style of “Daae,” which is a great opener.

“Echoes,” while still maintaining a heavy groove, also brings attention to the band’s more melodic side. A catchy melody and some clean singing are worked into the band’s style quite well and add a great dynamic to the song. The cleaner guitar work is impressive for a band so young. The clean singing itself, which is nothing mind blowing, could use at the very least some better production to help boost its impact on the song overall. Even with the minor flaws, “Echoes” is still a memorable track and is a well executed and well written song.

The centerpiece of the five track EP comes in the instrumental “Fireworks," which flows directly from the previous track. It’s a mellow, tranquil, and beautiful song that keeps the album in perspective, preventing it from becoming a straight to the point technical metal album. Every instrumentalist in the band is dialed into one another, creating a flowing soundscape that brings to mind acts like God Is An Astronaut. A fantastic song, and one of the true high points from the disc.

The following track, “Turns Out He's Luke’s Father,” is the heaviest cut and absolutely beats the listener into the ground with its time signature changes and devastating brutality. The vocals are improved through the song compared to other tracks and really take it to another level. Many of the genre’s leading acts going today cannot pull off their style as well as Dead at the Scene do with this song. Live crowds will surely be thrown into a frenzy.

“Sharktopus” closes with the epic “Paint The Sky.” The song does start off on a bit of a low note, following in a more been-there-done-that attitude. But the song does go on to include more fantastic technical musicianship and builds to a climatic finish through a modern style prog ballad section with the disc’s best singing by far. “Paint the Sky” is a great closer to an impressive EP from this young Scottish five piece and rounds out the entire package perfectly.

If Dead at the Scene was from the U.S. or Canada, it is without a doubt the band would be picked up and signed by almost any metal label. “Sharktopus” bleeds creativity and uses a strong metalcore vibe as a base to build upon with exceptional musicianship, crafting an EP that will surely garner them worldwide attention and place them on the map for all those looking for metal’s next breakthrough act. Beware of the "Sharktopus."

Highs: The progressive, complex sections do not sound out of place and fit in very well.

Lows: Some vocal sections could use some better production.

Bottom line: A great progressive hardcore EP from an unsigned band.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)