DEADLANDS – Evilution
American power metal has for the most part differed from its European counterparts. Maybe it has something to do with the changing climates, blue collar mentality- or just sheer emotional impact of metal in general- but most American musicians who perform in this style do not think of incorporating a bevy of choirs, keyboard layers, or purposely sprinkle positive vocal melodies. Hailing from California and containing an ex-Vicious Rumors vocalist in Brian O’Connor, Deadlands on their debut album "Evilution" live for a lower tuned, aggressive form of power metal that should appeal to those into the modern side of the genre.
Guest guitarists reign supreme in the solo department- Hank Shermann, Michael Denner, Mike Wead, Glen Alvelais, and Andy LaRocque are 5 of the 7 axe men who peel off some entertaining lead breaks during "Deadlands", and the pummeling "Final Solution". Brian’s main delivery is a combination of finesse and thrash bellowing, bringing to the forefront the work of Warrel Dane and an older Chuck Billy. At 10 songs and 39 minutes no particular cut wears out its welcome… and yet I just feel that "Evilution" is just average in riffing and execution. Nothing really stands head and shoulders above the next track, the hooks are adequate but the lyrics comes off a touch contrived with little nursery rhyming tricks ("She’s On Fire" especially guilty of this) that many metal heads will shirk away with dismay.
Deadlands need to decide if they want to continue their lower tuned, straightforward Nevermore-ish sound on the follow up or preferably take a few more risks in the riff/ songwriting department if they hope to attain any sort of longevity as a group.