Dagon: Paranormal Ichthyology
Dagon - Paranormal Ichthyology - [BombWorks Records]


This Michigan band's debut album can be described as a combination of thrash and melodic death metal, with some metalcore breakdowns and groove, and they manage to pack it with enough hooks and good ideas to make it worthwhile. There are some glitches, but mostly, this album works.

The thrash element is the strongest one here, based on some good thrash riffing and fine lead guitar work, with a solid rhythm section that does come off as a bit obtrusive sound-wise, but still manages to get the job done. The Death metal element is the vocals – deep growled vocals by the band's bassist/vocalist, and higher, metalcore-ish ones by the band's drummer. It may sound like a bit of a mess, but it works fine most of the time.

Kudos to the band for coming up with an original concept, the band's name – HP Lovercraft's ancient god of all things fishy, meshed up with the Ichthyology theme in the lyrics; things like this point out that the band is putting a bit more effort into the album than most bands, and that's always a good thing.

My problem with the release? I can't shake the feeling that the growled vocals are not the best thing for the album, the guitar riffs and the overall tight musicianship make me feel that clean & thrashier vocals would have sat in much better here. It seems the music has a clear melodic side to it, but is let down by the growled vocals. They're not bad, I like the deeper ones, but it still feels a bit over-aggressive for the music.

Still, it's a solid release by a band that clearly has something to offer, somewhere in between traditional extreme metal and more contemporary metalcore; these guys still manage to sound fresh and interesting.

Alon Miasnikov

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