When Legends Become Dust
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Metalcore as a sub-genre was on it's last leg when Sacramento's Conducting From The Grave released their debut EP, 'Trials Of The Forsaken' back in 2005. Since then, the vast majority of mediocre metalcore bands have disappeared and Deathcore has taken over as the new trend. Fortunately, CFTG aren't a band to hop on the bandwagon or dress a certain way just to "fit in". With all the deathcore clones out there struggling to stay afloat in a sea of mediocre musicianship, hip hop/fashioncore attire and ridiculous scene haircuts, the decision to stick with their thrashy metalcore sound and steer clear of all that was definitely the right thing to do.
Their debut album, 'When Legends Become Dust' is a perfect example of what happens when you take a group of extremely capable musicians who fuse the best elements of Metalcore together with a healthy dose of Bay Area thrash, a little bit of death metal and a proper dose of melody to create one hell of a record.
The complex rhythms, blazing leads, and phenomenal acoustic breaks courtesy of guitarists Jeff Morgan and John Abernathy is easily on par with the likes of Mustaine/Broderick, Peterson/Skolnick, Flynn/Demmel, Mcgrath/Susi, Herbert/Martin, and any other stellar guitar duo in modern metal. Those may seem like bold comparisons to some, but one listen to this record will lend credence to the claim. And of course, the band's equally capable rhythm section more than do their part to fill in and maintain the bands already devastating sound. Greg Donnelly's drum work is at times reminiscent of Meshuggah's Tomas Haake, with his flawless mechanical precision and impeccable timing. The other half of the rhythm section, bassist Steven Lovas, shifts easily between the trad standard of holding down the rhythm and burning frets right along with his fellow guitarists, adding in a few of his own wicked sweeps here and there as well.
With stellar musicianship all the way around, it's the vocals that will typically make or break a band in any fans mind (i.e. Dream Theater, Nevermore). In this instance however, it's definitely what makes the band, as the vocals laid down by Lou Tanuis (who actually hails from Connecticut, not Sacramento) are exactly what the band needed to give 'When Legends Become Dust' the sound that it has. Unlike monotone death growlers and annoying screamo vocalists who can only maintain a higher register scream, Lou has a broad range of aggressive vocal styles that compliment the music perfectly. From lower end growls to blackened acidic rasps and even some hardcore styled barks, the vocals match the song based on whatever is needed, without delving into the unnecessary territory of unintelligible "brees" or "guttural grunts". Vocals are just as integral to a band's signature sound as anything else, and Lou does well in setting himself apart from every other extreme metal vocalist out there.
'When Legends Become Dust' is one of those albums that you can listen to from start to finish without skipping a single track, which isn't that common. Sure, there are plenty of amazing bands out there, but regardless of how good they are, there are plenty of albums out there that are 50% amazing, and 50% filler. And it's that percentage of filler that separates the good bands from a great ones.
BOTTOM LINE: Despite the fact that some of the songs are several years old and had been previously released on the bands 2005 'Trials Of the Forsaken' EP, 'When Legends Become Dust' is easily one of the best debut albums to come out in the past several years, and is also one of the best records to be released this year as well. If you still don't have it (it's been out since February), you oughtta kick yourself in the ass for missing out on some seriously legitimate fucking Metal.
Forget about downloads, forget about syncing it to your iPod / Zune / mp3 player and forget about having a friend burn you a copy...go out and BUY this goddamn CD, because 'When Legends Become Dust' isn't just a kick ass album...it's a Must-Have album that should have already been in your collection!