Album: The Hand That Feeds – EP
No matter who you are or what your religious proclivities may be, no one is truly without a supreme power. Every thought we conceive lingers in our head and possess our actions, inspiring action from nothingness. We whittle away days as slaves to things that build up in the sulci of our brains. Regardless of how many “God Free” slogans you plaster on your clothing or your car, you are still subject to one almighty Deity—the one you instilled in your psyche all on your own. The question becomes: what thoughts will dominate your mind, and how will you choose to worship them? Perhaps one of the most brilliant, intelligent and masterful displays of mosh-friendly aggression heavy music has seen in the last decade, The Hand That Feeds is the debut release by Texan Titans Deity—and after you’ve heard it, it will be the only thing occupying your mind, and the only way to serve it is boundless, remorseless slaughter.
The first subtle noises that creep into your ears and wind their way to your brain seem intangible—whisps barely coherent enough to make full, actionable thoughts. However, as things begin to intensify, your mind begins to make sense of what you hear—thoughts begin to form in your mind, and inspire action. This is where Deity’s vicious circle starts: “Feed” is the opening to an album that will snare claws in your head and refuse to leave, keeping you addicted and pleading for more. As “Feed” gives way to “Albatross,” which rapidly transgresses to “Grayscale,” the mind begins to arrange the events of The Hand That Feeds into a story as grisly and captivating as the album itself. No stone is left unturned, as Deity rely on song structure, lyrics, vocal styles and minute details to make The Hand That Feeds the juggernaut it is.
However, if you find yourself afraid that The Hand That Feeds’ conceptual nature will take away from the album’s proclivities towards punishing heaviness and mosh-friendly metallic instrumentation, you can quell those fears now. Deity take a no-nonsense approach towards Beatdown-infused, metallic hardcore that will send any crowd in attendance spontaneously devolving into blood-thirsty brutes. The entirety of Deity’s disastrously detailed release is the brainchild of creative genius Drake Eckhart. Eckhart, who is not only a masterful guitarist but a brilliant songwriter, uses each song on The Hand That Feeds to tell a story not simply with words, but with carefully arranged notes that compile into riffs dripping with resonating beauty. Every instance of Eckhart’s ingenuity comes to life with the assistance of Deity’s members.Drummer Dillon Covart employs a simplistic but spine-snapping series of crushing, creative patterns that avoid practically every cliché metal-and-deathcore drummers have been abusing for years. Bright, splashy cymbals dominate “Feed,” while “Albatross” and “Pereo” are faster, more aggressive displays of Covart’s relative technical prowess. Here, Covart works in tandem with bassist Shaun O’Brien to give Deity a groovy, fluid low end that keeps the band lumbering along like a perfectly greased twenty-ton war machine. The bridge and bustling build-up in “Albatross” is a brilliant example of Covart and O’Brien’s interplay, as is the climactic bone-smashing breakdown in “Grayscale.” However, when it comes to Deity’s bold, no-nonsense attitude, look no further than the efforts of guitarists Eckhart and Davis Snyder. Eckhart and Snyder take mosh-able riffs and give them speed, life and energy, making the climax to “Albatross” one of The Hand That Feeds’ kill-or-be-killed moments. Even with a backbone of break-neck, frantic fretwork, tracks like “Pereo” and “Fable” both feature slower, highly-fretted and eerie riffs that will surely send shivers down the listener’s spine. In fact, the subtle notes building up throughout the Intro and tapering off “Fable” turn out to be some of the most haunting moments of the EP, proving Eckhart and Snyder are just as intelligent songwriters as they are instrumentally talented.
Thoughts begin to build within your mind—and a voice you can’t place or identify begins to urge awful things, begging for bloodshed, installing paranoia at every small detail. The tedious clicking of a clock becomes a gun’s hammer locking back, aligning the sights squarely at the back of your head. The voice tells you the more you try to resist, the worse things get—it is better to just give in. This voice—the paranoia, loathing, fear and aggression—is that of Deity’s frontman, Tyler Hebert. When one considers the insidious nature of The Hand That Feeds’ storyline, coupled with Deity’s unbelievable instrumental intensity, Hebert’s voice could simply not be more fitting. Dominating with a unique, raspy and intelligible shout, Hebert brings an added layer of aggression to every track he touches, as well as an incredible amount lyrical prowess. Where many bands fall short with a conceptual release, Hebert excels—aided by Eckhart’s hefty roar and two superb guest appearances—in doing justice to the nightmarish story Deity tell on their debut release. “Grayscale” and “Fable” see Hebert deliver picture-perfect one-liners, as “Feed” and “Pereo” are far and away some of his catchier tracks. Hebert’s harsh yell rarely delves into a gritty growl or high scream, but where he neglects variety, he concentrates intensity, making every syllable severe and sinister, sure to linger in the listener’s head and serve as the voice of their new, malevolent and misanthropic God.
Begging and pleading against the monster in your mind, your will breaks—cracking cleanly in two and letting your primal urges wreak havoc on the ones you love. On the surface, you’re still you, but inside, you’re different; darker and infinitely more devious. Similarly, Deity find themselves as band releasing an EP so deep, it may as well be two different releases. The listener truly doesn’t even have to comprehend the story Deity tell on The Hand That Feeds to recognize it as a modern metal masterpiece. However, should they take the time to immerse themselves—to truly let Deity rule their minds—they will find a tale terrifying enough to dominate their nightmares. No matter what you believe in, what church you attend or how many prayers you say, nothing can keep you from succumbing to the perfect combination of punishment and profound depth that is Deity’s The Hand That Feeds.
For Fans Of: Rex, Scavenger,
By Connor Welsh