1. Hundred Foot Drop.
2. Subsistence Defined.
3. Like Peering Into The Deepest Ocean Abyss: Drugs For Pain Inside.
4. Like Peering Into The Deepest Ocean Abyss: August 4th – 3:21 AM.
5. Like Peering Into The Deepest Ocean Abyss: Anything But This, Anywhere But Here.
6. Like Peering Into The Deepest Ocean Abyss: I Cannot Explain Myself Anymore.
7. Slowly, But Surely, I’m Drowning.
As we have mentioned before in a previous article, progressive has many meanings, interpretations, and sub-genres. With some albums, you can point out numerous qualities that gives it it’s progressive nature. However, with some albums, you can’t explain why it’s progressive; it just is. Enter The Deadstation., a 3-piece band from North Chelmsford, MA. They tread familiar waters already paved by bands such as Metallica, Rush, Dream Theater, etc., but they mesh the sound of those legendary groups with more modern metal groups, such as The Devin Townsend Project, to create something very familiar, yet very original. In fact, perhaps their closest contemporary is The Omega Experiment, in that both share 80s progressive metal leanings, and both are very vocal and guitar driven.
In a year which has seen such great vocal performances, vocalist/percussionist Greg Murphy gives the vocal performance of the year. He has such tonal control and power in his voice that has only been heard from Devin Townsend in recent memory. Tonally, he sounds like a mix of the aformentioned Devin and James LaBrie. He also can achieve a very haunting quality on some of the more quiet parts on the record. Listen to the vocal acrobatics on standout track ‘Subsistence Defined.’
Musically, this group achieves very high levels of success. While the vocals clearly take center stage, the band prove to be the absolute perfect compliment. Guitar duties are handled by Ryan Mattheu and Shjon Thomas (Shjon also recorded bass and some vocals on the album). On the aformentioned track ‘Subsistence Defined,’ you can clearly tell that these axe-wielders have very high talent, as there are leads and solos abound, all of which are technical, but very melodic and memorable as well, a mixture that is very hard to come by. The drums are also of special note, as Greg’s drums prove to be as acrobatic as his vocals. Cymbal-play and unusual fills are almost omnipresent, and make many parts standout with their originality. Finally, keyboards and synthesizers are performed by guest musician Nathaniel Rendon, and they are used very well, giving some parts much-needed lushness, and some other parts it’s haunting quality.
Songwriting is top-notch on this record. Listen to the entire 4-part series ‘Like Peering Into The Ocean Abyss.’ It goes through many emotions, rises and falls, but still is centered around one theme. In fact, one of the more epic moments of the year thus far is during ‘Like Peering Into The Deepest Ocean Abyss: I Cannot Explain Myself Anymore.‘ After all 17 minutes of the LPITOA series, the ending climaxes and ends how the series began flawlessly, effectively tying up the who series together into easily one of the highlights of the year.
Another unique quality is the numerous emotions evoked during the record. Some tracks use spoken-word vocals to bring out the eerie quality the music presents. While most spoken-word used in a context in a record halts the records flow, this record uses the technique in such a way that one can’t imagine it without it. Give a listen to ‘Like Peering Into The Deepest Ocean Abyss: August 4th – 3:21 AM,’ which exclusively uses the technique. There is some very audible emotion and suspense in the vocals that really heightens the tension of the album.
Mixing was handled by Peter Rutcho (Revocation) and mastering was done by Jens Borgen (Devin Townsend, Opeth). As you would expect with a pedigree such as that, the production is very good, and gives the album a very professional sound. Overall, this album is very much unlike anything you will hear this year. Superior songwriting, musicianship, and some of the best vocals you will hear all year make this record one of the best this year. And with a year such as this, this is very high praise indeed. And to make the deal even sweeter, it is absolutely free to download via their bandcamp. You have absolutely no reason to pass up this record, and if you do, then you’re truly missing out.