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DAATH The Deceivers

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Tuesday, May 7, 2024 @ 4:08 PM


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DAATH
The Deceivers

Metal Blade Records




If you're going to make a comeback, at least make it count. And with its first album after a 13-year break, Georgia-born metallers DAATH do just that and then some.

Boasting a radically retooled lineup - founding guitarist Eyal Levi and frontman Sean Zatorsky are the only returning members - and aided by a slew of guests, DAATH has re-emerged with a grander, more resounding, symphonic black metal-inspired version the proggy, if sometimes confused, death/thrash metal it developed over four albums from 1999-2010. The difference is striking, and certainly makes a statement.

DAATH's unconventional sound during its initial go-round left the band in an unfortunate "square peg in a round hole" position where it never quite fit in or connected on the level of many of its less adventurous contemporaries. Hence the hiatus after a decade of toil.

But the band has come back loaded for bear, and ready to go toe-to-toe with anyone out there. Levi and Zatorsky have assembled a team of ringers that includes SEPTICFLESH drum juggernaut Kerim "Krimh" Lechner, OBSIDIOUS/ex-OBSCURA guitarist Rafael Trujillo, guitarist/orchestrator Jesse Zuretti from BINARY CODE and bassist David Marvuglio. Guest guitar solos are provided by the likes of ARCHISPIRE's Dean Lamb, PERIPHERY's Mark Holcomb, SCAR SYMMETRY's Per Nilsson and Jeff Loomis (ex-NEVERMORE/ARCH ENEMY), with video game composer Mick Gordon contributing "sound design" on the track "Purified by Vengeance".

That's a pretty wide and impressive range of influences and experiences, and it sure doesn't go to waste, paying off with a vibrant, contemporary sound that brings a lot to the table, but serves it up with power and panache. The left-of-center flourishes that made the band oddballs in the past are used more sparingly and effectively here, and the bombast and velocity are ratcheted up rather dramatically.

As "No Rest No End" opens with some familiar sparse guitar motifs, there is a sense of deja vu all over again, but that soon fades as the song literally explodes with furious trems, a wall of synths and Lechner's blast beats. It soon morphs into more of a chuggy, death metal powerhouse, but liberally adds blackened sprints and lush orchestration to produce the sort of HUGE sound the band never seemed to achieve in the past.

The menacing "Hex Unending" again rides Lechner's drum gallop, heaving riffs and Zatorsky's imposing roar. He brings it with a vengeance throughout, matching the band's new-found aggression, from the rivet-gun crunch of "Ascension" to the raging black metal of "Unwelcome Return" and the bruising death metal of "The Silent Foray", "Deserving of the Grave", etc. Even his "cleans", such as they are in "With Ill Desire" or "Purified by Vengeance", bite hard.

As you might imagine, given the A-list guests and new recruit Trujillo, the guitar work on The Deceivers is out of this world. The classically inspired tag-team soloing on "No Rest No End" sets the bar pretty high at the outset but the leads are stellar the rest of the way, as are the fleet, agile and often pummeling riffs from Levi and Zuretti.

The old DAATH always had a certain "understatedness" about it, a bit of reserve as if it really didn't want to go off because that's what everyone else was doing. The new DAATH has no such qualms and delivers a clinic in going off here. Yet it's all done within the framework of rather tightly scripted songs, with plenty of catchiness and groove to complement the virtuosity.

With The Deceivers, DAATH is not only reborn but rejuvenated. The cracker-jack team delivers an album that is every bit as good as the sum of its parts, and with a sound that takes what was cool and quirky about the band back in the day but wraps it in a far more resonant and potent package.

Thirteen years is a very long time to pause and reflect, but given how Levi and Zatorsky have refined, indeed re-imagined, DAATH it has been time well spent. Never has the band sounded as determined and intense as it does on The Deceivers.

4.0 Out Of 5.0


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