US band Deadfall with their progressive distorted guitar chords and riffs are exponents of the djent genre. To be honest tags, sun genres and labels seem to jump out of the woodwork whether recent or not and it all gets a little tiresome and seemingly contrived, so really all you need to know is that Deadfall are impressively creative, mightily powerful, and gloriously complex in sound and ideas. New Light is the debut EP from Massachusetts duo Eddie Kim and Sean Dusoe, an intelligent, adventurous, and stimulating instrumental release that blends the distinct traits of progressive imagination, throbbing grooves, hypnotic melodies and heavy passionate metal riffs in a seamless union that inspires and satisfies.
The five track gem that is New Light was written and produced by Kim who provides the guitars and drum programming and Dusoe who brings his great bass skills to the ‘program’, Kim also covered the mixing, engineering, mastering and the artwork for the release, a fully ‘in house’ project with a result that is high quality and impacting.
It is not easy to use other artists as reference to give one a clue to the power and sound on New Light, something that is a massive positive but imagine a blend of Periphery, Meshuggah, plus Between the Buried and Me and you vaguely scratch the surface. Soaring varied progressive excursions play eagerly on the ear whilst rhythmically complex guitar riffs call the tune and emotive touching melodies expand each of the songs. The opening track ‘Shades of Inception’ sets the scene, its perfect balance between the driven grinding riffs that powers the track and the harmonic instinctive variants that play with ease and warmth are at times hypnotic. Within moments of the first groove laden riff the siren like attraction takes hold and the ear hungrily devours the stirring adventure.
‘The Divergence’ sets off next with an atmospheric melodic flavour as a grinding riff tunnels into the ear, again showing how immense the band are at sending intrusive but appealing almost primal riffs and energy out as emotive imaginative sounds play with the senses. As it lays down its last restless note the haunting tones of ’In Death’s Path’ start up, again fuelled by more intense and burrowing roots of aggressive riffs to infiltrate the ear. Though in length it is over three minutes the track swiftly passes without missing any moment to make its mark.
The title track carries a sense of optimism and hope with its flowing sound and forceful power, not that other tracks carry any excessive darkness or misery but ‘New Light’ has a feeling of renewal and freshness that inspires the emotions. ‘Utopia’ closes the release, the driving and striking riffs and intensity taking a more backward position giving the song a sensitive and golden joyful atmosphere without losing its powerful effect on the senses, a wonderful contrast and companion to the direct and potent tracks that came before.
There are really no real negatives to the EP but there were times when the inclusion of vocals seems like a natural addition, not necessarily to improve the song but to add another layer of creativity. The use of a live drummer possibly would have added something more too; though the programmed ones on the EP are more than satisfactory the instinctive feel of a human drummer with the possibility to surprise against the predictability a machine carries no matter how one tries to avoid it, would have given the release an extra edge.
New Light is a striking and impassioned release that stirs similar reactions in the listener and the anticipation for further releases from Deadfall eager and acute.