DEATH THERAPY - Voices
If you are a fan of the lyrical genius of Becoming the Archetype and industrial/electronic bass guitar and keyboard driven heavy music then you need to check out Jason Wisdom's latest release.
“Voices/Of fear and confusion/Take hold of my mind/Distorting my vision/Make truth hard to find.”
In essence, there exists, in this world, forces working against your mind to deceive and confuse. I really can’t think of a better description of the kind of struggle mankind is up against in our current age than what is summarized in the “intro” track. We’ve all been there … we are all there right now. The fear, the doubt, the confusion, the mixed media messages. Even well-meaning faith leaders have contributed to the mess. This album is highly conceptual, but not in the story-like fashion, and some listeners might be frustrated by the somewhat negative (at times) content.
Confrontational lyrics aside, Jason Wisdom’s vocals – in his customary death metal fashion - explode out of the speakers on the first full-length track “My Defiance.” Accompanied on this track by Josh Kincheloe (Glasslands), Wisdom sets the stage for what follows – a 40-minute, gut-wrenching journey of the soul to discern the truth in the world around us.
“You hang yourself with your own hate” – “My Defiance”
“Feels Like Fiction” is a chilling tune – featuring the hypnotic vocals of Garrett Russell of Silent Planet – which puts all of this in perspective. “Forever starts right here, eternity starts right now.” There almost seems an urgency to stop “candy-coating” what is happening in the world around us – “feels like” spiritual warfare to this listener. With the rap-like exit this song has that Rage Against the Machine aggression, but the call to “get off the fence” could not be more clear.
“The Reckoning” is another haunting tune with some really cleverly constructed keyboard passages, in almost Lincoln Park fashion, which exhorts us to “sing a new song.” The greatest thing about these songs is that Wisdom’s death metal throaty, yet always discernable, vocal catharsis anchors the music and message to metal.
“Been status quo for too long/mediocrity for too long/It’s time for singing a new song.” – “The Reckoning”
“The Instability of Proto Man” re-introduces us to the “chiptune”/video game world of musical expression which was featured on “The Curse of The Belmont Family” sequence from the debut release. In some ways, this “instrumental” interlude provides a light-hearted respite from the intensity and seriousness of what has gone before and what is to come.
“It’s Okay” is probably one of my favorite tracks here. I love the light keyboard-driven, almost 80’s synth wave, melody, grounded with the well-delivered verses of Spoken’s Matt Baird. Wisdom’s harsh antithesis to Baird’s melodic vocal really shines. One thing that is evident this far into the album is that Wisdom is moving in a different direction musically with Voices. Some fans may not like that these songs are more melodic, more key-driven, and less groove-centric. I love the buzz saw bass grooves from the debut, but I appreciate the shift in emphasis here – one which clearly pushes the lyrical expressions and grunts to the forefront. This time around, there is no mistaking Wisdom’s wisdom.
The heavy, Manson-like industrial vibe and groove from the debut surface on the more melodic “Resist The Eclipse.” This track is brilliant – these haunting melodic vocals juxtaposed with the incredibly crushing growls. In some ways, this song reminds me of more recent Orphaned Land material where there is this melodic vocal up against metallic aggression and angst.
For those who love diversity, no worries. The final two-part “Darkening Counsel” sounds nothing like what has been offered up to this point. There is a brief 3-minute intro (Part I), followed by a Job inspired 10-minute progressive opus. Part II features some interesting narrative during the opening segment, followed by this almost symphonic section. Remember, there are no guitars (other than bass guitar) in this mix, but somehow, when listening to this song, Wisdom makes the bass guitar sound so naturally like a rhythm guitar. So you don’t even think about the lack of guitars during this song, because this insanely Bach-like keyboard carries so much of the melody. It is also here that we here a bit more of that double-bass drum rhythm that feels just a bit metal. This song really reminds me of why I love the debut BTA record – those insane keyboards mixed with metal aggression just so rad. Moreover, this song clearly describes the glory and sovereign nature of God.
In summary, Voices is not as heavy or industrialized or metal sounding as was its predecessor, but it is equally enthralling from a musical standpoint. And, I would say that the lyrics/words this time around are both more accessible and weigh more heavily in the Death Therapy punch. And with the highly progressive “Darkening Counsel” Jason circles us back just that much closer to the Becoming The Archetype origins. Make no mistake, though, because Death Therapy is innovative and provocative musical “therapy” for the ailing and conflicted soul.
Release Date - 4/12/2019
1. The Vice Of Voices (2:47)
2. My Defiance (3:58)
3. Feels Like Fiction (4:54)
4. The Reckoning (3:27)
5. The Instability of Proto Man (3:50)
6. It’s Okay (3:41)
7. Resist The Eclipse (4:18)
8. Darkening Counsel Part I (2:02)
9. Darkening Counsel Part II (10:18)