Disclosed Dioptric Principles is the debut album from French tech-death metal band SLAVE ONE. Mixing progressive metal with brutal death metal, SLAVE ONE have the right elements to appeal to many fans of underground metal.
The first thing that is immediately apparent about this album is how impressive the musicianship is. Instead of just sticking rigidly to a death metal formula, SLAVE ONE blend multiple styles together seamlessly. This kind of experimentation really works in the albums favour as it keeps the music interesting. Opening track Deus Otiosus begins with ominous chanting over an almost tribal drum beat before a stomping riff kicks in, giving an early indication of how well they’ve managed to blend these different elements. Track 3 Obsidian Protocol sees the band playing more traditional death metal but it’s equally as impressive with plenty of riffs and solos that will grab the listeners attention.
It’s a shame then that the vocals really let the album down. Whilst they aren’t exactly bad, it’s difficult to get excited over the very basic death metal growl here. Every song is delivered on the exact same level without a hint of variety. This just drags the album down as every time they do something interesting instrumentally, the vocals kick in and sap that creativity away. However it is worth noting that the vocals do sometimes take a backseat to the music, this is most noticeable on Liquid Transcendence which is certainly the standout track on the album. Clocking in at over 11 minutes this song is effectively the centrepiece of the album and features most of the bands progressive elements and ideas. Closing track Degenisis unfortunately feels like an attempt to pad out the album and comes across as nothing more than an outro to the album.
Disclosed Dioptric Principles is a tough album to recommend because for all its good ideas, it’s just held back by a bland vocal performance. The amount of experimentation might also put off listeners who were expecting a more straight up death metal experience. Despite being a mixed bag, as a debut album it certainly shows that SLAVE ONE have a lot potential. It has its flaws but they can certainly improve on these on future releases. In the end I think fans of technical and progressive death metal will get enough from the album to look past the lacklustre vocals and still find something to enjoy here.
Disclosed Dioptric Principles is out now via Dolorem Records.
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