Convulse – Deathstar (2020)

Growls ruined a rock album! This is perhaps a line we don’t really come across, it’s a brand new sentence for all we know. Convulse, the legendary Finnish death metal band has released a new album titled “Deathstar”. The name immediately took me to “Oldstar” but we can come to that in a bit. What we have here is a rock album with varying degrees of influence from Psychedelic, Souther and Post-Rock. The odd piece in this puzzle are the vocals, had the band decided to stick with non-growls this album would’ve been a really radio friendly record. The opener ‘Extreme Dark Light’ starts off as a soundtrack to James Bond playing Poker in Casino Royale, it’s perfect! It was the first image that came to my mind when I first heard this album. Musically this isn’t soft death metal or an offshoot of death metal, this is a rock album. As we go further into the record, we have Pink Floyd’ish keys which Syd Barrett (R.I.P) would’ve been proud of. Some pieces across the songs are spectacular! The guitar tone is akin to dark metal bands but the spirit of the solos are straight out of a Post-Rock atmosphere. Prime example of this is track #3, ‘The Summoning’ which ends with a nice vista of post-rock atmosphere. 

‘Chernobyl’ opens with the traditional heaviness and it slowly dissipates into an 90’s English sound. Again, the vocals play the spoilsport here, I mean when the music clearly has taken a different route why have these vocals? They ruin what the rest of the band are doing. This track has one of the nicest solos on the entire album. Very balanced, melodic and as straightforward as a radio friendly jingle. This is not progressive death metal in any way, case in point is the track ‘We Sold Our Soul For Rock ‘N Roll’. I can imagine Britney Spears covering this for a Side B of her Christmas special. It feels like the band is making a conscious decision to infuse the heaviness but then change their minds. The title track of the album ‘Deathstar’ sticks to your traditional distorted riffs but gives space to nice spacey notes in the track. I’ve got to admit it’s done well. This is a good album to hit the charts with or perhaps have a couple of singles out there for the general public to pay attention. With the year as it is as, I suppose, anything is possible. 

A track that immediately catches your attention is ‘Make Humanica Great Again’, this is your typical Slash/Myles Kennedy affair. A traditional riffy opening, vocals kicking in to make the statement about the condition of humanity. Slash taking over to thrill us with his gifts and then we move on to the next track. I particularly like the guitar parts on this track, pieces of it are clearly influenced from Pink Floyd’s sound from ‘Set The Controls’ timeline. Another interesting thought was how I’d enjoy this on stage but not on a record. To sum it up, no track on this album is remarkable even though the band has strayed significantly from what I’ve expected. These are your average rock songs done well. The first listen was painful but the subsequent ones were not hurting as much. Everytime I came to the songs I’d round them with being ‘decent’, ‘good guitars’ and ‘bad vocals’. That is how I’ll end this. Give it a try, if you’re streaming this album, do put it on random. Might give you a different perspective. Best track: Light My Day

Bandcamp: https://transcendingrecs.bandcamp.com/album/deathstar