Edition: 60
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Album reviews:
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01. Man upstairs
02. At war with God
03. The Face
04. War song
05. Rise of machines
06. Head shot
07. Out of anger/Stone heart
08. Shell shocked
09. Leave it alone
10. Heavy
Once upon a time there was a Chicago-based band called Seventh Omen, that played a terrific form of sophisticated US-metal based on the impressive writing/performing skills of guitarists Damon Bernklau and Clay Yoksas. After two albums (Majestic; 1995 and Polarized; 1999), Seventh Omen called it a day. A great pity, because the four-piece band had a style all their own and Yoksas’ vocals, though by no means perfect in the classical sense of the term, made the band instantly recognizable. In 2001 a CD with demo recordings (Abstract destiny) was the last sign of life from SO’s former members, before in 2006, Damon Bernklau resurfaced on the scene with Dedkor. The new band quickly put up some song samples on MySpace and it turned out that here another highly interesting US-metal act is having a go at underground glory.
Where Seventh Omen’s sound went a tad more in the progressive direction and had a very specific transparent overall sound, Dedkor go the slightly heavier route. The style on the self-titled is riff-based power metal with blistering solos throughout. Some songs, like At war with God, The face and Rise of machines are as totally old school as they are bloody intense. Having found a fresh and highly talented writing partner/co-guitarist/co-producer in Christopher Shelton, Bernklau cranks up the amplifier and shoots one scorching riff after another into orbit. Melodic vocals by Tony Gora are strong and tailor-made for this type of metal. Some discreet sequencing (courtesy of Bernklau) lends a bit of a different colour to the music. Lyrics – penned by various band members - also give food for thought, as do the Seventh Omen-lyrics.
Now Dedkor would have qualified as a top-notch album if it weren’t for one pesky little detail: production. As a die hard Seventh Omen-fan I hate to say it, but the Dedkor debut is such a regrettably thin, powerless affair soundwise, that only truly dedicated US-metalfreaks will be willing to see past it. Less lenient listeners spoilt with bigger productions will probably not even invest time to hear through the extremely poor audio to recognize the great music underneath. Since there’s almost no weight on the low end, you’ll have to turn up the bass on your amplifier to the max to get a minimum of bass and drums out of the speakers. Recording and releasing excellent material in this way is doing neither band nor listener any favours – quite frankly, it’s just a waste.
Despite the non-existent power in the audio department I will play this disc again, because otherwise I’d miss out on a great track like Headshot (very original guitar riff and rhythm parts) and the two thundering instrumentals War song and Out of anger. The only song that doesn’t fit in with the rest, is Leave it alone. Its blunt metalcore riffing and jump-along chorus made me hit the skip button within 30 seconds. Hopefully, Bernklau, Shelton and the Dedkor-men will continue along the lines of the first five songs on this debut and next time round let a competent producer behind the knobs. I’m sure that live, Dedkor will rip your head off and a properly produced studio album will amaze even the most jaded of US-metalfans.

  Rating: 70 /100

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