As They Sleep – Dynasty
November 22, 2010
What It Sounds Like: Death Metal from the Solidstate Label. If you’ve been down the Solidstate road before, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting here.
Let’s try to keep it short, and let’s try to keep it sweet, because at the end of the day – this actually is pretty simple.
I know nothing about As They Sleep except this Dynasty record. I know nothing about these guys as individuals. I know nothing about their faith, their worldview, or their politics. I just know…Dynasty.
This is what I know about Dynasty: it’s death metal, full of double bass, heavy chugging, and animalistic growls and snarls that, for whatever reason, make me think of a band of Uruk-hai descending of Helm’s Deep. I’m pretty confident that this is because the king on the front of the record always reminds me of Theoden, King of Rohan. If none of that made any sense to you, you’d be wise to get familiar with this trilogy.
Here’s the deal: if As They Sleep was coming to Nashville, I’d love to go see them, because they have some brutal tunes here. Oracle Of The Dead is a killer opener, and The Darkest Ages incorporates just enough melody at times to keep it from falling into the dark abyss, otherwise known as “just another death metal song”. Truth be told, I can’t say that for most of the record – we do have a lot of blending. But again (truth be told), it’s freaking hard to add those “special but technical” moments to this genre of music without sounding interrupting. These guys do have some relentless energy that rarely lets up for the running of the record (save for the brief interlude, Ritual, which splits up the first five tracks from the later five), and it serves them well. When Aaron Bridgewater delivers that hollow, wet, throaty, blood curling hash of doom midway through The Offering, you can’t deny that these guys have spirit and are trying their hardest to put all they have into these songs. I won’t get into the lyrics here: it’s pretty common fare for these type of tunes (fighting against the system, not being held down, etc). They’re worthwhile and not overly lame, so give them credit.
It is groundbreaking? No. But I’d see As They Sleep before a handful of other death metal bands out there.
If you had to listen to two tracks: Oracle Of The Dead / God Of War