The Priory Of Sion – Last Train To China

The Piory Of Sion is a new group out of Jersey who decided that there simply weren’t enough melodic death/metalcore bands out there today and the world needed another one. Fortunately enough, the material on their debut EP, ‘Next Train To China’, is more From This Day than Dead To Fall, so the band is able to maintain relevance despite their agonizingly saturated choice of genre. There are even parts of songs that I can actually remember! What sort of witchcraft is this?

So what you have here is about half basic melodeath/metalcore, about 40% newer With Passion, and about 10% Waking The Cadaver. The base of the music is in the most typical elements of the genre, but it’s augmented by a pretty high level of technicality throughout. The band uses the dizzying, melodic sweep picking of With Passion as well as some of the wonky time signatures of that band, and it does a great deal to set these guys apart from most of the other bands in the same field. Again like With Passion, the ubiquitous breakdowns seem deliberately off-kilter, employing unusual time signatures and rhythmic changes to keep the listener (and any prospective hardcore dancers) fundamentally off balance. The Waking The Cadaver influence is subtle, but most certainly there; it eschews most of that bands brutality but employs a number of their rhythms in breakdowns and especially vocal lines (though there’s a thankful lack of pig squeals here).

Also cool is that this band keeps away from the most cloyingly uplifting of melodeath riffing that so many bands try (and fail) to use effectively. The melodic sense here is generally darker and more obscure, and even the sweep picking seems like something more out of the Vital Remains catalog than As I Lay Dying. Hell, half the cool things on this EP comes in the form of what it DOESN’T do more than what it does. The Priory Of Sion is great at removing all the dumb, embarrassing parts of melodeath and metalcore and retaining only what makes the genres good. To throw another on the pile: the lyrics stay away from embarrassingly emo rantings and the pseudointellectual stream of consciousness shit that every metalcore band these days does to try and seem smarter than they actually are. The vocals (a mixture of lower growls and higher metalcore vocals) are actually pretty well done, and even the former technique disproves the rule that death vocals done by metalcore singers universally suck.

So The Priory Of Sion has managed to edge out their trillion competitors and cement themselves firmly as one of the (few) very good melodic death/metalcore bands out there today. Let’s hope that they don’t hear the ghost of tight pants a’callin’ anytime soon.

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~ by noktorn on August 6, 2007.

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