Design the Skyline
A new band invents some new deathcore
Spawning out of Corpus Christi, TX, Design the Skyline are barely a year into their career since 2010 and they're already preparing their full length debut album. With a mix of pop, industrial, emo-core, and technical deathcore, this multi-pronged musical assault does its best at trying to branch out to multiple audiences, though their main bet is metal. 'Nevaeh' can be a bipolar experience. Right from the opening track, "Crystal Hordes Kill the Swords”, it's a cluster of technical deathcore that just shreds everything to pieces and suddenly will switch over to a more cohesively structured chorus featuring catchy rock riffs and clean, melodic vocal passages before switching back. Then there are more emo-core/metalcore oriented tracks that feature heavy screaming and mournful vocal tones with "Reality Away”. Here the band also makes a heavy use of a keyboard/ synth backdrop that adds a bit of a spacey atmosphere that would make symphonic black metal bands proud. For those looking for direct deathcore tracks with nothing but a mix of growls and snarls and heavy chugging, "Destroyer" lives up to its title as it storms right through with no remorse. The same can be said for tracks like "Cybernetic Strawflower" and "Witch of the Woods”, but the latter tries to be a bit more melodic and catchy in their guitar passages rather than just sheer heavy hitting chords mixed with a smattering of battery assault drums.
Design the Skyline also tends to get in touch their melodically progressive side. Rather than just fill every track with a bunch of aggressive, semi melodic deathcore tracks that can eventually become weary since they all sound so schizophrenically the same, other pieces of music are actually almost dreamlike and much more pleasant to enjoy. "Reverie" carries itself as a very jazzy and progressive tune that is melodic with the guitars and while not overly technical, sounds like something Animals as Leaders would do in their own smooth way. The track flows very evenly, starting out easy and building up before slowing back down again with a simple, but hypnotic repetition of notes. "Free for Infinity" is more of an industrial or electronic remix that features faded vocals. It's a trip-pop experience that feels so loopy and random and with the spaced out vocals one might very well question their sanity or sobriety. Finally there is "Nevaeh" which just glides right along with a mix of guitar and electronic influences. This is one of the calmest and dreamiest tracks on the album, branching out as far from the metal genre as possible and delving almost into trance. It's a great closer for Design the Skyline and shows that they aren't afraid to experiment.
'Nevaeh' will certainly attract listeners who are sick of the usual 'deathcore' formula of just chugging and growls. The clean vocal approach may come off as a bit whiny with the screams piercing the sound barrier in the vein of The Devil Wears Prada, but the musicianship is well rounded and each track approaches in a furious but innovative way. Touching multiple genres all over the map with a touch of sci-fi atmosphere, Design the Skyline shows lots of promise for being together for only a year. 'Nevaeh' will certainly appeal to those who like groups such as Born of Osiris or even Across the Sun. They can only grow better and better as time goes on. Their willingness to experiment is clear and hopefully a sign that future work will be just as innovative without too many repeats or disasters.
(Victory Records/Riot! Entertainment)