Dead Shape Figure
The Grand Karoshi
posted on 6/2008 By:
It wasn't very long ago, but it seems like eons. From around 2000 to 2003, the metal media was going apeshit over hyperpolished, superdense new-school death/thrash -- the type of steamrolling facefucking that The Haunted had popularized with Made Me Do It and One Kill Wonder. Carnal Forge, Dew-Scented, Corporation 187...remember them? Yeah, they're all still kickin', but their profiles have taken a serious tumble. Whether this has been directly influenced by The Haunted's recent missteps and stumbles is certainly up for debate, but this much is certain: Said brand of thrashing death (deathing thrash?) has fallen from the limelight, resulting in one of the briefest metallic trends in recent memory...that carried notable artistic weight, anyway.
So, here we are, five years after the genre's peak, and Finland's Dead Shape Figure have thrown another carcass to the wolves, a debut album of furious intent. Armed with the ultra-fast wrists and beyond-driven rhythms that are requistite for this type of cracksmash, these dudes certainly ply their trade well. Opening with a hair-raising instrumental that skillfully blends a slight Metallica infuence into their ultra-modern take on the genre (I'll always have a soft spot for bands that can weave those hallowed melodies into their sound without coming across like assholes), and then immediately stabbing for the gullet with "Blades", DSF waste little time in showing that they've taken the most vital angle on this stuff since Perfection In Pain. Whether they are mosh-inducing with "Blithering Icon" or speedpounding on "Bend The Weak" (ahem, if the band name wasn't a hint in-and-of itself, there's a bit of an ESL issue at play here), the band keeps things full-throttle and full-tilt at all times.
The onus on speed becomes a bit taxing, however, as the Dead Shape Figure sound is so dense, so brickwalled, so ten-ton-sledged that it becomes a bit overwhelming. Initial thrills are plentiful, and for good reason, because there hasn't been a fresh album of this ilk in quite a while. But despite the smokin' solos and Finnish tweaks of melody, the lack of dynamics and measured restraint cripples the long-term listenablity factor. Goofier takes like "Remington Lucifer", with its infectious gang vocals and Pierce Brosnan-as-Satan subject matter (wishful thinking, anyway - I wasn't provided a lyric sheet), provide some welcome respite from the high-octane bludgeon, but more valleys amid the peaks would make the scenery that much nicer, you know? They certainly have the chops, attitude, and ferocity to throw down with the mighty, but a bit of measured restraint would do the band wonders.
Wait a minute, what the fuck am I saying? Restraint sucks ass (see: paragraph 1). Crank this beast to 14 and wreck your neck like it's 2003. Just don't OD on the Karoshi crack. It's potent stuff.
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