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Degradead - "A World Destroyer" (CD)

Degradead - "A World Destroyer" CD cover image

"A World Destroyer" track listing:

1. Human Nature (4:27)
2. A Taste of Destiny (3:54)
3. A False Hope (4:23)
4. The Final Judgement (3:35)
5. Broken (3:44)
6. Part of the System (5:33)
7. No One Prevail (4:39)
8. Cold Blood (3:44)
9. Near the End (3:53)
10. Kept in the Dark (3:51)

Reviewed by on May 25, 2011

"'Human Nature' is a fully-fleshed out riff-and-solo-air-guitar monster... The other nine songs, unfortunately, are merely competently executed melodic deathcore."

Basic economic theory describes how firms will enter markets that are generally profitable and will leave markets that are losing money overall, such that every market will break even in the aggregate long term. If melodic deathcore is an economic market (it is, actually), then my one request is this – clearly no more profit is being made here, so can bands please stop entering it? To be fair the subject of this review, Degradead, actually began trading in the melodic death market back in 2005, but the band is now just trying to use any profitability of the genre to its benefit instead of selling an innovative, unique, or even simply high quality product.

Degradead’s third full length, “A World Destroyer,” is definitely best-foot-forward, which is smart, drawing us in with a thin veil of honey. “Human Nature” is a fully-fleshed out riff-and-solo-air-guitar monster; guitarists Anders Nyström and David Szücs trade machine gun riffs with each other like a World War I howitzer stalemate. The solos are melodic death sublimity with their pacing and rise to the exhilarating end, and vocalist Mikael Sehlin sticks mostly with the harsh side of things (more on this later). The other nine songs, unfortunately, are merely competently executed melodic deathcore.

A sampling of songs from across the rest of “A World Destroyer” shows this to be true. “A False Hope” has chugging riffs underneath alternating harsh and clean vocals, but never gets us to care about either cop as the only thing that changes is said cop-swap. “Broken” is a ‘core ballad of sorts with a made-for-radio hook and banal keys. “Near the End” has a decent In Flames-style riff layer to begin, but loses it quickly with the alternating riff-vocal-riff sequence and pointless clean vocals mixed in – those parts would have been so much better if sung in harsh tones. At least the pedal is kept to the metal with another nice solo from Nyström and Szücs.

Now the music isn’t horrid; Jesper Strömblad of In Flames fame even took notice after the band’s first demo back in 2006, and Degradead has released two full lengths previously as well, so clearly there is talent, and some people do buy the band’s stuff. But somewhere the group lost the map to modern Swedish melodic death metal paradise. The chops and momentary inspiration (“Human Nature”) are present to write vein-bursting melodic death, yet Degradead makes a wrong turn, opting for friendlier deathcore complete with minor chords, downturned guitars, and breakdowns; none of which suit Degradead’s specific talents, which are namely writing major key death metal riffs and solos while melodically screaming.

“Kept In The Dark” has a strong solo and the harsh bits are pretty brutal, but the breakdowns don’t break skin, and the clean parts are lightened variations of the verses (imagine if the choruses were even more brutal than the verses, that’d be sweet). By now you should see where this is going – if only the ‘core parts were… wait for it… kept in the dark (yup), then Degradead would be onto some consistent quality. As it stands now, Degradead is offering a product on “A World Destroyer” that isn’t what the band is best at, yet the act chargees the same amount for this melodic deathcore as other bands charge for a vastly superior melodic deathcore product. And to top it all off, Degradead isn’t even selling much of its better straight melodic death metal anymore. I think I’ll do my shopping in a different market.

Highs: “Human Nature” is a fantastic melodic death song – fiery riffs, strong vocals, and a killer solo.

Lows: The clean vocals add nothing.

Bottom line: Swedish melodic deathcore that desperately needs to lose the ‘core.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 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)