Artist: The Order of Elijah
Life is all about balance. I’m sure someone’s told you that–or something like it–before, right? Moderation, composure, equity–all things we’re told from a young age are cornerstones and building blocks to a healthy and well-lived life. Needless to say, this doesn’t always pan out. The unthinkable happens, the unforeseen becomes seen and, in other words, shit happens. However, The Order of Elijah provide an excellent of example of not just balance and composure, but of the steadfast beliefs which can get the best of people through the worst of times. Dethrone is a marvelously composed album of hard-hitting, skull-splitting deathcore with an uplifting and inspirational religious message which relies on neither over-the-top technicality nor incessant preaching to reach out to the listener. Rather, The Order of Elijah find a means of striking a balance between the two elements to create an album for people of all walks of life to find themselves immersed in and thoroughly enjoying.
How often do you hear bands reach a true balance between gimmicks and seriousness–between anecdotal humor and intense instrumentation? The Order of Elijah certainly have it down to a science. Dethrone shows the band incorporating sly samples and clever lyrics alongside their crushingly heavy elements and devout belief system and moral guidance. “New Line of Defense” does this brilliantly, smoothly flowing in from the subtle introduction (which incorporates a quote from cult hit and personal favorite Pulp Fiction) with a rollicking vocal push and skin-rending groove. Several other songs throughout the album follow a similar tactic: placing movie quotes and jokes from cult hit films and otherwise silly gimmicks alongside skillfully written and masterfully executed deathcore. Again, the listener is drawn to album opener “New Line of Defense,” which might start with a super-serious gang chant, but is also spliced with a slightly less serious crowd vocal element which catches the listener off guard and makes them chuckle in the best and most refreshing way possible. The simple truth is that the “silly” elements of the album fit perfectly and prevent stagnancy by keeping the listener waiting with baited breath, wondering what punch the band will throw at them next.
This isn’t to say that Dethrone doesn’t have more than its fair share of legitimately redeeming elements to keep the listener engrossed. “The Reclaimer” has a stunning series of eviscerating breakdowns and skull-splitting riffs which rip and tear at the listener with tooth and claw. Furthermore, “Stitches” functions as a stellar instrumental interlude that flows magnificently into “Greed Machine,” a track which shows the band taking on a much more mature–and not to mention back-breakingly heavy–tone. It boils down to the fact that while there are some gimmicky aspects to the band, The Order of Elijah are stellar musicians, and are not afraid to make it known. “Starscream Symphony” is home to non-stop, machine-gun drumming which drops down into grimy, gruesome breakdowns. Meanwhile, the guitars throughout all of Dethrone are capable of keeping up with even the fastest drumming and most furious blast beats. However, it isn’t all about speed. While the guitars are able of tremolo picking their way to the forefront of the listener’s attention, the riff-driven, symphonic elements are also responsible for Dethrone’s sole source of ethereal atmosphere. The introductory sequence of “Ballad of Jimmy Barker” features an intricate, melodic riff which reoccurs several times throughout the song–breaking up the chugged-out, intense attacks the song wages on the listener. These elements work in tandem with one another to accompany stellar, catchy electronic elements and visceral, dynamic vocals to create an immersive experience that is both fun and technically impressive.
It’s the fine balance between the band’s serious atmosphere and their fun-loving, engaging gimmicks that make The Order of Elijah such a refreshing act in today’s scene. However, this fine balance is mirrored in the band’s lyrical message and their use of sparing, aggressive technicality. Dethrone takes a different route from it’s contemporaries in that, while it does offer a fiercely religious message, it isn’t intense or overly belligerent in delivering it’s message. Furthermore, it doesn’t rely on technicality to mask the band’s message and make it appealing to everyone. While, admittedly, I am far from religious, the blunt, bold-faced honesty with which the band preach the word is refreshing. While several bands are either gun-shy or evangelical, The Order of Elijah believe what they believe, and they say it just as simply. While there are tongue-in-cheek elements to the lyrics on Dethrone, they mirror the band’s proclivity towards the technical: sneaking in a solo of soul-igniting riff. The same can be said of the opposite: when The Order of Elijah have something they need to say, there’s a bone-crunching, no-holds-barred breakdown to accompany it. The fact of the matter is this: the band are always in sync with one another, and their album is the product of a well-oiled machine doing what they do best.
Whether or not you’re a religious person, as long as you like your breakdowns heavy and your instrumentation proficient, The Order of Elijah are for you. With beatdown-styled breakdowns and lacerating, shreddy riffs to accompany every element of the band’s beliefs, and gimmicks to keep the listener buckled in and along for the ride, Dethrone is a perfectly balance and meticulously written display of aggressive, heavy mastery.
For Fans Of: Creations, The Great Commission, For Today
By: Connor Welsh