Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 6/1/2006
The Remission of Sin
posted on 7/2006 By:
An introductory EP (or demo) to Los Angeles’ own Absolution, Remission of Sin works against the group’s own press release to its benefit. Rather than sounding like the suggested old school thrash / new school melodeath hybrid, Absolution sounds much more like the former than the latter, a fact that might scare off exclusive listeners to Arch Enemy and In Flames, but will at least tug a little on the heartstrings of those who worship an 80s classic like Flotsam and Jetsam’s No Place for Disgrace.
The guitar work is most striking, especially on the eight minute “Human.” Never needlessly epic, the song builds upon riff after riff, intensity climbing until vocalist Dave Deroscher pipes in three minutes after the very Maiden opening lead. In fact, the whole song has Maiden written all over it, and who better to pay tribute to, right? Unlike the other five songs on this debut EP, “Human” finds Deroscher rarely switching vocal styles. Thank god, or whoever, because the harsher vocals often sound unnecessary and out of place given the sometimes bright and clean tone coming from guitarists’ Chaz Leon and Benny Del Rio. It really is too bad, because Deroscher has an excellent clean pitch to his voice and a decent amount of range. If he pulled an early Araya and just went loose and had completely uninhibited fun with the harsher vocals there wouldn’t be a problem, but there is simply too much of a contrast between the clean and harsh vocals for the latter to not sound forced. That said, it’s a minor gripe and doesn’t take away from the fact that Deroscher contributes a vital and positive element to the Absolution sound. I told myself I wouldn’t make this comparison for the sake of keeping negative lashes to a minimum, but somehow he reminds me of an Araya, Eric A.K. and James Labrie hybrid.
More mid-paced, almost rockerish songs like “Seven Deadly Sins” and “Erase” hint at a grasp of more diverse soundscapes and sound great in the tracklist sandwiched between faster numbers. The clean parts also sound heavily influenced by Dream Theater’s Train of Thought, especially in terms of the choruses (think Labrie stretching his voice). Excellent stuff. The melodies stick to the brain pretty damn quickly. In fact, the more I listen to the demo the more I like it and appreciate the subtler technical elements.
The anti-Christian theme works well in defining the group’s aesthetic from the beginning, which I think most new groups have a difficult time doing early in their formation. At least we know what these guys are about! Seeping through demos can be a bitch when you have no clue what message the band is trying to get across. The religiously themed audio clips inserted here and there ensure no confusion and though this has become a metal cliché, it certainly adds a sense of professionalism.
Every once in a while I come across a demo that makes me wonder, “How are these guys not signed?” The last time this happened to me I was listening to The Green Evening Requiem, who, I believe, are still unsigned. Absolution is in a similarly baffling predicament. While this is nowhere near being on par with an As The Weird Travel On, it is certainly more interesting than a The System Has Failed. The musicianship, including the vocal layering of one Dave Deroscher, is stellar, with the leads and duel guitar work of Leon and Del Rio being the most noteworthy elements. Whether they get picked up by an independent or simply trudge through the underground unsigned, Absolution will have my attention.
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