Album: Dead City
Gutted insides—cracks running from the surface down to the firmament that binds every superficial structure together. Deep, gnarled gashes trace decades of abuse, despair and devastation. Every pillar that once stood straight is dilapidated. Function, form and structure have all given way, collapsed beneath the weights of their own burdens. Nothing moves; everything is still.
While this might sound like the description of a long-abandoned and practically dead city, it doubles as the state of the listener once Ohio-based oppressive heavy music act Edorra are done with them. Dead City is an aptly-named display of dissonant, devastating brutality—combining catchy grooves with crushing, grisly salvos of pulverizing breakdowns and riff-driven, dreary and doom-laden segments of atmospheric aggression. One part straightforward and spine-snapping, one part haunting, brooding and unsettlingly emotional, Dead City is as lethal as a plague and two times as catchy, ensuring that it will invade the ears of heavy music enthusiasts from Ohio to Oklahoma to Okinawa, spreading suffocating despair and dessicating, depressive deathcore without relent or remorse.
A gnashing, jarring combination of hurried, hectic and riff-driven energy with brash, brutalizing heaviness, Dead City is equal parts meaty and thick a la The Acacia Strain and bouncy, unpredictable fervor a la Barrier. At the very core of Edorra’s elaborate dynamic is drummer and songwriter Billy Duganne, who pounds away with the jumpy, sporadic candor of a meth addict’s hurriedly-beating heart. Songs like the dirging introduction to the closing number, “Scourge” see him channeling the likes of The Acacia Strain and Black Tongue—a steady, crushing beat that looms over the listener like a leaden albatross. Other songs—like “De Milo” and “The Dark Room” see Duganne working at a faster and more furious pace. Even the middle and closing portions of “Scourge” see him peppering in fills and fast footwork a plenty—working dynamically with bassist Tyler Holt to mold a thick, fluid low end that gives every song on Dead City both catchy and crushing moments galore. “De Milo,” for example, begins with insidious and intrusive percussive patterns that allow guitarist Jordan Smith to lay down some of the most contagious portions of punishing guitar work on the entire album—only to end in dizzying displays of Dissonance. Likewise, “Scourge” begins slow and steady, but before long, Duganne and Smith guide the song into a quick, toe-tapping and neck-snapping anthem that blends groovy metalcore with equal parts deathcore and nu-metal. With Duganne behind the helm and the dynamic duo of Smith and Holt laying down everything from low lurid breakdowns to furious displays of feisty fretwork, Edorra combine a broad smattering of heavy music styles to create a unique instrumental dynamic that isn’t quite like a majority of the metalcore, deathcore and nu-metal offerings 2016 has provided.
Where Edorra’s instrumentation is top notch, the true source of the band’s catchiness and poignant, raw emotive relatability pours out of the throat Of frontman Shawn Williams. Williams’ voice is chimeric, able to adapt to the entirety of Edorra’s diverse musicianship—which given the variety seen on Dead City, is truly remarkable. Songs like “De Milo” and “The Dark Room” see his mid-and-high range screams taking center stage, while he includes boatloads of burly, bitter bellows throughout “Filth” and “Stiff and Cold”—the latter seeing Williams hold his own against Traitors frontman Tyler Shelton, which is remarkable praise in itself. Williams doesn’t stop after a successful first four songs, however—his prowess continues well into “The Dark Room” and beyond; “Gone,” for instance, sees him using some aspects of his range that were neglected throughout the remainder of Dead City. With Williams’ wondrous vocal talents in abundance, Edorra’s dynamic is truly unpredictable, as by the time “Pallbearer” rolls around and the listener thinks they have the quartet all figured out, Williams et al have no issue proving them wrong.
Edorra are energetic and eviscerating—gutting the listener and leaving them to decay with callous and cruel disregard. The band hit incredible highs on songs like “De Milo,” “The Dark Room” and “Gone,” while only barely touching on slight lows in the somewhat-unnecessary interlude “Forever Lost” (which is still pretty cool). All things considered, Edorra slough off the tired and melodramatic Conqueror name and evolve—undergoing a metamorphosis into something more original and oppressive, combining heaviness from a plethora of styles while adding their own unique and punchy twist. By the time the band’s debut full length is finished wreaking havoc on the listener, they—like the albums name might imply—will be torn apart from the inside out; a Dead City crafted from tattered flesh and broken bone.
For Fans Of: Black Tongue, Traitors, Barrier, VCTMS, The Acacia Strain
By: Connor Welsh