The Storm Before the Calm, Death Therapy’s dark and heavy, yet surprisingly guitar-less debut release, was met with critical adoration. The freshman album was able to create an impressive atmosphere without the need of the traditional metal guitar sound. Using chunky synth and bass layering, along with various types of unclean vocals, it painted a darkly beautiful work of art. Voices looks to be both a musical and thematic successor but, sadly, with some diminishing returns.
The opening track, “The Vice of Voices” sets a moody tone right away. Painful admissions of betrayal describe someone questioning the reason for their very existence. When the track kicks into high gear, a choral arrangement chants the word “voices” over lyrics questioning the existential conflict of desperate, mortal existence. “My Defiance” is the equivalent of coming to grips with one’s purpose and determining to persevere in the midst of insurmountable hardships -- to “stand face to face with the giants and show the world that they still bleed.” The third track, “Feels Like Fiction,” establishes the thesis of the album. An honest critique of the state of the world, it compares the future hope offered in the Bible to the current state of humanity right now. Statements such as, “I hear you say forever awaits, but it seems so far away… It feels like fiction to me,” are punctuated with a diatribe against complacency and commanding action to fight the evil before us in the present. The rest of the album further supports this theme of endurance in the fight against the darkness of sin. The original Death Therapy album contained chip-tune style tracks inspired by the classic video game series, Castlevania. Voices contains the track “The Instability of Proto Man,” seemingly inspired by the MegaMan series. This instrumental track, which contains 8-bit stylings as well, ties into the thematic implication of man’s current state of imperfection and incompletion. The album finishes with “Darkening Counsel Part II: Inquisition,” which resembles the conversation between God and Job at the end of that book and really hammers home the vastness and omnipotence of God and His Sovereignty.
Unfortunately, a lot of the “groove” elements that made The Storm Before the Calm so captivating feel less impactful this time around. The remnants are there, but Voices feels less unique than its predecessor. There is no moment throughout the album where anything seems bad, but musically, the album is far less potent than its message.
Voices contains a strong encouragement against apathy and laziness. It is both a rebuke and a pep talk at the same time. However, it just doesn’t stick with you the way that The Storm Before the Calm did. This will likely be disappointing to fans who fell in love with Death Therapy in 2017. If the lyrics sound interesting, you should give it a listen, but over all of this is a hard album to recommend without at least a few qualifications.- Review date: 4/10/19, written by Michael Knipp of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Solid State Records
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