Album: Mind of a Dead Man – EP
We know that when men and women die, their brains cease to function—it’s science. However, we take that to assume their ability to think and imagine things also ceases to be; that there can be no crossroads of mind and cognitive thought simply because there is no organ to actually form cognitive thought. But what if they still could? What if the dead dream and think just as the living do? If they could, their thoughts and ideas would manifest in something dangerously similar to the debut EP by crushing Californian deathcore quartet Wineville, aptly titled Mind of a Dead Man. A relatively straightforward display of devastating deathcore, Mind of a Dead Man is another example of the genre’s strong revival: scathing riffs, blistering blast beats and bone-grinding breakdowns combine to steamroll the listener beneath two tons of tremendous aggression—even if Wineville’s debut release is still underwhelming when it comes to quantitative material.
Mind of a Dead Man is four tracks of manic, energetic deathcore—running just over fifteen minutes, there is not a single break or breather to be found within the album’s confines. Wineville waste no time in beginning their assault, either—with percussionist Anthony Lyons launching right into “1422” with a pummeling display of punchy, prominent footwork. Lyon’s drumming—while nothing truly groundbreaking—is groovy and energetic, adding catchiness to “1422” while still showing off speed and intensity on beefier, more aggressive tracks like “Whispers.” Where Lyons truly excels is playing patterns that serve as a strong foundation for guitarists Brandon Christopher (who also recorded bass on Mind of a Dead Man) and Sid Petak. Together, Christopher and Petak hit everything from furiously fretted riffs to raunchy, groove-tinted breakdowns. “Whispers,” again, is a stellar example of the duo’s variety—with stuttering breakdowns that weave in and out of ruthless, riff-driven segments of metallic mastery. Meanwhile, the lengthy and lurid closing number, “Nazareth,” sees the duo embracing more distinct black and doom metal stylings, with an introduction that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Black Tongue record. Where Lyons was steady and cantankerous, Petak and Christopher are erratic and eviscerating—leaping between influences and styles without predictability to punish the listener without care.
Just as Christopher and Petakdraw from a sprawling variety of Influences, frontman Henry Kroeseis dynamic and diverse himself. Hitting grisly, girthy growls and piercing screams—and everything in between—Kroese is creative and intense, giving the listener even more to love about this young deathcore act. Where “1422” is a fairly standard showcase of moderate skill, “Whispers” sees his range expand, alongside a cunning use of haunting effects—and “The Swarm” sees his voice and lyricism take a sinister and severe turn. Kroese’s range and energy are both incredible, taking a slightly-better-than-average sound and perspective on deathcore and helping it stand out even further from the masses who seem to be swept up in the genre’s resurgence.
While Kroese’s voice is intense and immense both, and the band’s musicianship is solid with moments of brilliance, Mind of a Dead Man isn’t without its flaws. The first and most noteworthy is that Wineville’s debut is simply short. By the time the listener truly gets into their sound, “Nazareth” is pretty much done. This is especially true when one considers the second problem—“1422” is a pretty bland track, and while it starts the album energetically, there isn’t much in the way of a climax or engaging apex to really draw the listener in. Instead, it sort of happens, and the listener isn’t truly swept away until “Whispers” gets rolling. All things considered, these don’t make Wineville any less strong as a young band breaking into the heavy music scene—it just means their EP will fly under many people’s radar. However, Mind of a Dead Man will definitely ensure that those who do get hooked on it will be keeping their eyes and ears wide open for more from this devastating group of deathcore dynamos.
For Fans Of: Suicide Silence, Despised Icon, Whitechapel, Rex
By: Connor Welsh