DEAD ALONE – Nemesis
- by Dan Barkasi
- Posted on 19-01-2015
Dead Alone, who have been around for over ten years, have yet to cross my listening path until now. Reading their description of being blackened death – a style much loved by yours truly – hopes for "Nemesis" were reasonably optimistic.
Diving right in, this is decently written stuff. The variety in the songwriting is more than a number of bands of this ilk. There’s more melody than expected, as well as some slow, doomy passages that keep the pace continuously changing. As Olaf in Frozen would say, "All good things!" Note to self – use more Disney references in my reviews.
With that said, there’s something holding this album back. After repeated listens, and almost going completely nuts, it finally hit me. It’s simply too clean and polished. A Mr. Clean thoroughly scrubbed squeaky sparkle, if you will. That sort of sound can work in the right circumstances, but in the case of "Nemesis," it does the opposite.
Musically, it’s obvious that the band is going for something varied, but ultimately dark and grey. Having production this clean puts off the wrong vibe and gets in the material’s way of bursting through. Some more menace and fat crunch on the guitars, more pulsating and forefront presence on the drums, and a little bit of grime would have made this record stand out and be what it could be. Alas, this is too "friendly" sounding, and it comes off weaker because of it.
Dead Alone has the chops and the songwriting acumen, but missed the boat on feel. Overly processed and polished albums are way too prevalent these days, and in this case, the album is done a damaging disservice. Scar Symmetry is made to be squeaky clean – not a band going for something bleak. "Nemesis" is above average in every way, except in how it’s presented. Fatten it up and get a bit dirtier next time, fellas. It’ll do you good!