An e-mail popped up in my inbox a while ago, from one Mark Wellington, lead singer of American Prog-metal band Dyed In Grey. They had a new mini-CD coming out and would I be interested in reviewing it? Well, I had never heard of this band before, but after a quick check-out, I decided that they had a sound that I could be interested in. Now, this record was released back in early June, so yes I know, I’m behind schedule – and then some. But I had reviews of Väsby Rock Festival and the Stockholm AC/DC gig to do, which were first prioriteies, plus I’m on vacation which means very little at home and in front of the computer and since I’m alone on this site, this is impossible to avoid. I have a few more reviews to write that I’m behind with – could anyone add a few hours to the day, please! Dyed In Grey are a progressive Metal six-piece from Brooklyn, New York that started out in 2009. The band’s influence are many and at times almost musical schizophrenic – and I mean that in a good way, I love diversity. How about Opeth, Dream Theater, Pantera, Kansas, Morbid Angel, In Flames, The Doobie Brothers, Kiss, Alice In Chains, Darkthrone and John Coltrane, to name a few – Wow! So, just by reading their list of influences makes this CD interesting enough to sink my teeth into. And even though there are acts in that list that aren’t really my case of beer, many of them are and there are many more names to add to that list than mentioned above. The band consists of Wallington, guitarists Adam Edgemont, Rob Dukarm & Pete Luetzeler, bass player Paul Loew and drummer Shawn Crowder and this is really all I know about the band. Oh yes, I need to mention that this lot is still unsigned so they don’t have a record company behind them, making this 27 minute five track an independent release.
The record’s opener and first “single” is called “Holotrophic” and is a real jawbreaker. The Dream Theater and Opeth influences shines through, but the song has very much its own sound, much to the fact that it also has a more straight forward hard rock edge to it. “The New Obsolete” is a real ball buster, but a bit too heavy on the growling and Death Metal parts for me, but it also hold passages and melodies that makes me think of the German Prog metal band Sieges Even. Also, the melodies are really catchy as well, so the whole Death Metal / growl thing don’t really bother me that much. Yes, I must admit that I’m not that big on growling – Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt get away with it, though – and Death Metal and me just don’t get along, I’m afraid. The same goes for “Veil Of Oblivion”, the Death Metal inputs sound – at leat to these ears – too noisy and unstructured – but on the other hand, the more melodic stuff is just damn brilliant. The song also hold a big chunk of Dream Theater which is always a good thing. “The Absonite Death” is a real gem, though. It has some Opeth influences and I can hear both bits of Dream Theater and Kansas here and there, but for the most parts, the song goes its own way. But it seems like the guys in Dyed In Grey decided to save the best for last – “Gates Of Catharsis”. Yes, folks, this tune is Prog metal heaven. Yes, I hear lots of Opeth here as well – their biggest influence I would guess – but, the song take a more dreamy, almost psychedelic path that makes me think of 90’s Tiamat around Wildhoney (1994). All that mixed with heavy riffs, thunderous drums, pumping bass and a killer melody makes the song epic.
The fact that these guys are unsigned is a bit of a mystery. This does not sound like an independent release at all. The sound – production is signed by one Travis Orbin, a new name to me – is really brilliant, mixing heaviness and even sometimes noise with melodies and beautiful arrangements – impressive! As I said, I do have some difficulties with the Death Metal influences and the growling but luckily enough, those things never takes over and Wallington has this Mikael Åkerfeldt thing going, mixing growl with clean vocals. The clean vocals shows that he’s a really talented singer. So my advice would be to go more in that direction. Still, there might be lots of people begging to differ on that one, so maybe it’s just me. But what this 5-track do show is that this is a bunch of really good song writers and really good musicians. As always when it comes to me and E.P.’s, when they’re this good, I feel cheated. Five really good tracks just makes me want five more. On the other hand, had this been a crap E.P., I would probably just have been glad that it only lasted for five songs. But it’s not crap. No, this is really good stuff. Maybe, they should drop their influences a bit because both Opeth and Dream Theater are really obvious here, but I guess that will come with time. And both Opeth and Dream Theater are awesome bands so they could go with worse influences than those, right? For any Opeth fan out there, I can highly recommend this, you can probably buy this unheard. And for every metal head that is looking for a new and exciting band, check this out. If you like this, which you will, they released their debut album The Abandoned Part in 2013, for you to sink your teeth into. Which is what I’m about to do now. Now, a full album, please.
2. The New Obsolete
3. Veil Of Oblivion
4. The Absonite Path
5. Gates Of Catharsis