Tustin in Orange County California is where you’ll find Multi Instrumentalist (Guitars, Bass, Drums, Synths and Piano) Brodee McLaren and vocalist Brandon Craven on most days if the week. The duo create Progressive Deathcore and are label free because let’s face it, in the internet age, as they put it, who needs one? They’ve hooked up with YouTube songstress and Progressive Metal lover Christina Rotondo for a guest vocal appearance on their EP “Blood Moon” which follows from numerous singles over the pas few years and yes, it does indeed look as if they’ve pinched the Star Trek communicator logo for themselves. But hey, why not? The adventures of the USS Enterprise haven’t happened in this time line yet, so it’s not like anyone can get sued…
Opening cut “It Lives” was originally released as a single back in October 2017 and this version has 6 seconds shaved off the near 10 minute run time. Craven’s blood curdling vocals are the black hole that draws you in and not for the faint hearted. McLaren is one of those players that makes most single instrumentalists (this reviewer included) green with envy with his sublime skills. Comparisons to Methwitch or Shxttered who both are both Mutli instrumentalist Deathcore projects seem valid, especially the later, who’s “Fleshless King” was a pleasure from 2019. This opening track is a slow, dark DJent groove oriented cut that shatters bones with its densities. It has a eerie quality that sets everything on edge as it rumbles through. As with “It Lives“, single “Eyes” which features the aforementioned guest vocal appearance from Christina Rotondo has been around since the end of December 2018. It’s Progressive Metalcore injection into thoses DJent groove with some classic tapping sections is absolutely brilliant and you can see someone like Emmure,Glass Cloud and Tony Danza guitarist Josh Travis getting down to this. Rotondo adds a sense of melody with her bright clean vocals that are kept within the instrumental mix and not allowed to float on top. Craven doesn’t show any range beyond his deviating demonic tones and so Rotondo gives that beauty to the beast contrast. McLaren and Craven and joined by Christopher Beattie, McLaren’s step-brother, who contributed the solo.
The drop to acoustic guitars at the start of “The Light” might catch you off guard with its surf sounds but there is always that sense of tension, that something is wrong and when the eerie synth tones bring in that haunted amusement arcade vibe it’s not a surprise. The 8 String Ibanez RG8 is to effect to create the off kilter tones and what we get is a bright instrumental that has a bit of Periphery or Plini as it plays out and showcases guest Christopher Beattie’s lead playing skills for a second time. The song is structured to move in waves, each one bringing that little bit more intensity and the technically efficient lead guitar work flows straight into “Disgust“. Dirty slabs of DJent should be enough to crack a smile on even the most stoney faced Metal Head and Craven uses a higher pitched backing vocal to create a balance hitherto unheard. This roars give Vincent Bennett a run for his money and his breathing control is phenomenal. “The Destroyer” takes everything up a couple of notches in the first 3 minutes or so with some brutal Deathcore vocals and Meshuggah esq riffs until a drop off to so unrelenting rain and a guitar lightening storm is accompanied by what sounds like the birthing of a demonic alien child. Stepping back into some eerie tension filled slabs of stabbing DJent with some impressive pummeling kit work, Craven delivers a rant second to none. Closing on some Downtempo Deathcore breakdown moments with a smattering of blast beats to crank it up is a finale fitting of an EP of pure evil [8/10]
Eyes (ft. Christina Rotondo)
The Light (Instrumental)
“Blood Moon” EP by Manalyth is out 10th February with all the merch available here