Dead Deities- Valley of the Giants (Own Label)

Melodically tinged metal with a social conscience...

When I recived the press release that touted Aussie band Dead Deities as a platform for activism, I couldn't help but feel a touch dubious. Whanever bands market themselves around activism or a political message there is a very real risk that what they're saying, or trying to say, will fall flat. You're not singing about Satan or Vikings or other topics where it's okay to fall into cliches, you're choosing to sing about real issues and as such, you'd better be damn sure that what you're saying is relevant. Or at the very least, be able to write a song that can get people passionate.

In this respect, Valley of the Giants is a bit of a mixed bag. Opening track No Sense kicks things off with an awesomly crunchy riff that's somewhere in-between Rage Against The Machine's groove and contemporary hard rock. Indeed much of this album displays an inherit penchant for writing not only great riffs but also melodic harmonies that would make any NWOBHM or Gothenburg melodeath band green with envy.

"So where is the downside then?" I hear you ask, hypothetical person inside my head. Well, as much as the songs are well crafted, I kept waiting for some of that righteous anger to hit me, something that grabbed me by the lapels and made want to break things. Unfortunately, that moment never really came. Instead, I could only cringe a little at lines like "this is not a justice system/ this is not just us". Perhaps the production, which was just a bit too clean and polished for my liking contributed to this, but this record could have benefited greatly if a little more raw fury, a little more piss and vinegar, had been injected into it.

Perhaps I'm being a little unfair, because there is still plenty to like on Valley of the Giants and songs like Unpeople and Off the Menu are by no means bad. There's just plenty of room for improvement and growth in this band and by the sounds of this album, there's loads of untapped potential just waiting to be brought to the surface.


Valley of the Giants is out now...