MAY 2nd 2013
THIS DEAFENING WHISPER: DUODECIM

Review by Anka

This Deafening Whisper is yet another newcomer on the French metalcore scene. In a strange, predestined way, the band’s name matches their music quite well. I was not familiar with them at all but once I read the band name I could imagine what they’d sound like. So what do we have here?

Their album “Duodecim” is a second release for the band, and it looks like it’s one that can propel them on the international scene as long as there’s proper promotion for it. Overall my gut feeling is ambivalent: on one hand they are original and good enough to make themselves heard in this overpopulated metalcore scene but on the other hand, they are not the first to try up new things like these, and those who’ve tried quickly went back to the more popular formulas. There is an appeal to the album and surely a few songs stand out, while others hardly manage to keep up the interest. However, above all, there’s a symphonic element that saves everything, as there are piano and synths arrangements dominating the entire production, giving it a cinematic feel - in a post-modern kind of way. This becomes something that goes beyond formulaic metalcore, it actually has more feeling besides the usual anger we’re all so used to hearing with other bands.

The album starts off with a beautiful intro, a rather “creationist” symphonic piece where things build out from very little to ample string orchestra arrangements with soft piano melody that sounds just gloomy and  haunting. The same feeling returns throughout the album under all sorts of keyboard effects. Now for the part I liked most, the technical element: this is “core” but the chunky breakdowns are softened and huddled within well-built technical parts with some electro add-ons. This is something that definitely increases the quality of the material, but I am not sure how much it is preferred by fans of the genre nowadays.  Luckily it doesn’t sound too complex to the ears, it’s well done and it flows nicely, at times balanced through quiet passages with minimal distortion.

A part I didn’t care much for was the clean singing, which sounds almost careless and just doesn’t suit the album’s feel very well. On the other hand the layered vocals are more effective, while the screams sound much better and are well mixed in the whole.

Songs to remember: Awakening, Embrace the Brawl, Datura, Dealers of Safety.

The music is heavy enough, filled with intense riffing and intriguing rhythm changes, but there’s a diaphane, hallucinating feeling created with the orchestration that really makes this the musical equivalent of a ‘deafening whisper’.

Now instead of a proper conclusion, here’s my take on this. This band is not bad at all, they have lots of potential and their music is well done. But I have seen this with startup bands of this genre before, bands who released technically beautiful debut albums only to get signed to big labels and migrate to a softer sound with simplistic formulas, more suited for mass consumption. I don’t want to be skeptical but there’s a big scene out there and the crowd is so used to refined, standard metalcore that is plain easy to digest. Hopefully TDW will not sacrifice the sound they currently have and will keep making quality music instead of taking the simple, record-label governed path.