These Are They
Disposing Of Betrayers
posted on 9/2010 By:
Reviewing an album featuring a Metal Review team member is always a little awkward, and while I felt a little bad about my review of These Are They’s debut, Who Linger, drummer Sasha Horn never said a word about it. Still, I was much relieved upon listening to the follow-up from this Novembers Doom side project / Chicago supergroup as it improves upon every aspect of the debut.
Admittedly with Paul Kuhr (November's Doom) still at the vocal helm, a former member of November's Doom on guitar and Sasha Horn (also of Novembers Doom,for those that don’t know) on drums, and considering November's Doom's descent into more death metal realms, the comparison to November's Doom is still valid. But by using the Windy City’s sordid Mob- / Mafia-littered history as the lyrical backbone of the album, they have distanced themselves from the more doomy, moody and emotional textures that plagued their debut and made them a simple November's Doom clone. The end result is grittier, heavier, nastier and a far more confident, complete and competent album that sees the group more committed to making These Are They a force in death metal, not just a bunch of Chicago dudes palling around.
Starting with the fierce rumble of “The Massacre”, it’s apparent These Are They are forcing themselves to be sterner and meaner than the ‘other band’. Gone are the synths and strands of melancholy acoustics and somber mood-setting and Soundgarden cover song. Instead, the band -- including Kuhr who has dropped his clean vocals here -- seems much more intense and determined to churn out no nonsense, chugging midwestern death metal. Second track “Behind the Door” even opens with a volatile blastbeat that seems to be a cathartic release for Mr. Horn, as well as the rest of the band latching on to the savagery that was gangster-era Chicago rather than daughters, divorce and other more personal themes.
The rest of the album follows suit, with much more urgency and menace than the safer, controlled mid-paced chug of the debut. Tracks like “By Phaeton’s Design”, “Cranial Hemorrhage”, “La Mano Nera” and the excellent, vitriolic title track (easily the most brutal and complete track the band has done) are just good, solid, aggressive, well-written examples of death metal that mixes good ol’ Midwestern meat 'n' potatoes style with a little more Floridian flare and aggression and bodes well for the project as they continue to sever the November's Doom umbilical cord and become as infamous and brutal in Chicago as Al Capone was.
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