[22 February 2010]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
Not many bands have gone through as many band members as of late as Through the Eyes of the Dead. No fewer than five musicians have been replaced since 2007, leaving guitarist Justin Longshore as the sole remaining original member, but somehow through all that upheaval, the South Carolina death metal band managed to put together a reputable discography in a very short period of time. Initially a trendy “deathcore” act in the vein of the popular Black Dahlia Murder, the band decided to focus on straight-up, brutal death metal on its second full-length, 2007’s excellent, Erik Rutan-produced Malice and surprised many with its sheer physicality and musicianship. This time around, Skepsis sees Through the Eyes of the Dead self-producing a record for the first time, as well as introducing its third lead vocalist (Danny Rodriguez) in as many albums, and the band doesn’t miss a beat. The production might not be as monolithic as Rutan’s notorious sound, but the mix is nevertheless crushing and dense, with just enough clarity in the guitars to highlight the slyly catchy riffs of such standouts as “Siphonaptera from Within” and “Dementia”. Rodriguez, meanwhile, puts in a strong performance, displaying more vocal range and charisma than Nate Johnson’s workmanlike style on Malice. It’s another assured effort, but let’s hope Longshore can keep this band together for longer than a year.