Deep Wood, Shallow Grave
posted on 8/2008 By:
Off the bat, Denounce are rocking three stylistic shortcomings, all of which are superficial. First, their name isn't going to grab anyone by the throat. Secondly, the block-lettered logo isn't doing much to pop 'em out from the pack. Packaging is critical to an unsigned band, especially one that isn't really bringing anything unique to the table (more on that later). Lastly, they felt compelled to start the record with an utterly pointless introduction that is mostly comprised of rainfall and rustling. Obviously, this device was used to reinforce the title Deep Wood, Shallow Grave as a reference to ditching a dead body in the forest, and not VHS necrophilia, but that still doesn't give it any value. I know I've mentioned this before, but I'm sick of this shit. Stop forcing the masses to abuse their 'skip' buttons.
When the craw-sticking fuckaround ends, Denounce pop into a peppy death/thrash gallop. Though not quite as punchy and violent as Dead Shape Figure's Eurostomp, it rips with ample speed. Vocalist Gravesend Greg spews his throat lining all over this thing, as he and his bandmates rearrange the At The Gates via Callenish Circle via The Black Dahlia Murder trickledown scraps into something they can (sort of) call their own. Each song is a slight variation on their theme, "Of Ghosts and Shadows" teetering into metalcore territory, "Fire Will Follow" turning up the juice a bit with its pickslides and double-bass bopping; but really, they all sound damn similar. While sexy bridge riffs spring up here-n-there, the fact is hard to ignore: You've heard 97% of this stuff elsewhere. Stylistically, it's charming, provided this type of Gothenthrash thing makes you swoon. And musically, Denounce are pretty dexterous, bobbing and weaving when it's time to bob and weave. But they fail to toss a jab or a hook that leaves a lasting dent. In one cauliflower ear, out the other is the unfortunate summation.
However, their enthusiasm and upside drags them over the cusp of mediocrity. These dudes can throw down, they just need to establish an identity. 'Til then, Deep Wood, Shallow Grave is a well-produced slab of comfort food for the locals to thrash on. Potential abounds, now we just need more bite.
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