REVIEW: Dethrone the Deceiver – This Cruel World [EP/2015]

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Artist: Dethrone the Deceiver

Album: This Cruel World – EP


Every second spent on this rock is another second spent subjecting yourself to the planets boundless lesson in suffering. To exist is to know pain–from birth to death, earth is a sphere inhabited by demons worse than those that spawn from even our most horrifying night terrors; but don’t take my word for it, listen to Dethrone the Deceiver. These Michiganian masters of deathcore have captured the essence of this life’s earthly horrors and inserted them into an insane, intense experience appropriately titled This Cruel World. Dethrone the Deceiver take all the weight the world has to offer and top it with the density of devastating natural disasters and human atrocities just to place it firmly between the listener’s shoulder blades and crush them with excellently executed, beatdown-dusted deathcore. This Cruel World is a cutthroat release cruel enough to expose the listener to the worst moments of mankind’s history–without giving them the means to make it stop.

This Cruel World is a canvas of heaviness coated with equal parts dissonance and technicality–a brilliant soundscape that includes all the vast styles deathcore encompasses. Percussionist Mikal Qualls is equally proficient in punishing, machine gun blast beats and raunchy, bouncy kick drum patterns that smash at the listener’s head like wrecking balls made of rubber. The opening to “Anastasia” showcases this brilliantly, beginning with a bouncy, head-bobbing pattern that quickly transgresses into more technical territory. Alongside Qualls’ unquenchable thirst for tremendous percussion flows the furious bass grooves of Evan Reaume. Reaume provides a relentless low end, blazing quickly alongside Qualls on “Hell Walks Earth,” yet dropping into a meaty, crushing candor on “Life Goes On” that lines the listener’s ears with a thick coat of grime. However, no matter how thick and acrid Reaume’s layer of filth and sludge may be, nothing is too thick for the furious fretwork of guitarists Brandon Cooper and Justin Lee to slice through. Cooper and Lee are the main source of variation and diversity for Dethrone the Deceiver’s musicianship on This Cruel World. Their grooves, riffs and chugs align themselves the plagues and horrors that infect our race–as the spine-shrinking breakdown that concludes “Hell Walks Earth” is more lethal than Ebola, and the enormous dissonant onslaught at the conclusion to “Anastasia” is more infectious than AIDS.

Even as Dethrone the Deceiver paint a convincing depiction of the apocalypse with their tremendously heavy musicianship, they aren’t done force-feeding the listener with the fatally dismal definition of an earthly existence. Vocalist Isaac Bilbrey may as well be the throat of Satan himself, as his harsh, grating shouts and eat-splitting shrieks are hectic enough to subject the listener to pure hell. Evidence of Bilbrey’s beautiful vocal performance is boundless on “Life Goes On,” a track that mirrors his enormous diversity with deep, depressive lyric content that feels honest and pure. Bilbrey’s half spoken rants and rambles flow fluidly into sections of grisly, low growls and shrill screams alike, omitting questions of not just his range, but his talent and manipulative dominion over his vocal cords. The listener’s hands will start to tremble and their jaw will undoubtedly drop as Bilbrey brays repeatedly “goodbye, cruel world” as the curtains close on This Cruel World–and the listener’s capacity to feel as well.

From moments of intense heaviness to integrity-compromising emotion, Dethrone the Deceiver have a little bit of everything for fans of all kinds of heavy music. This Cruel World is a dynamic EP, diverse in spite of its brevity, that will keep the listener engaged from start to finish. “Judgement” is a lesson in jaw-dropping technicality, while “Hell Walks Earth” is a tremendous testament to the band’s ability to write epic, immersive songs. Bilbrey’s emotional capacity and ability to communicate immense feeling is remarkable, as Lee and Cooper are two of the genre’s most diverse riff-smiths since As Blood Runs Black’s original lineup. Even the album’s introduction is home to a microcosm of murderous brutality the likes of which some artists can’t even capture on an entire release. This Cruel World is as kind as it is cruel, forcing the listener to the most painful pleasure imaginable for sixteen minutes of sinister, severe music.

If you aren’t convinced of the world’s cruelty by the closing seconds of Dethrone the Deceiver’s debut EP, then you ought to get your ears checked. Heavy, diverse and intense are all ten-point words to describe This Cruel World, however, just like life itself, it remains something that must be experienced to truly understand.



For Fans Of: ISOLATIONS, Hail to the King, Oceano, Whitechapel

By: Connor Welsh