Welcome to a new feature on Heavy Blog, “The Anatomy Of”. Taken from the Between The Buried And Me album of the same name — in which the band pays tribute to artists/bands that they feel have most inspired their songwriting — it’s a feature in which we hand off the metaphorical microphone to bands so they can talk about their influences. Read more entries from this series here.
Dethlehem were fast favorites here at Heavy Blog is Heavy. Combining their wicked humor on the more nerdy side of things and head-crushing riffs, the fearsome team of five released their standout album Destroyers of the Realm earlier this year. We were privileged enough to sit down with Brutalitus the Bloodbeard (War Cry), Grimshaw Longfellow (Bass Bow), Bovice (Lead Axe), Durok Magicfist (Axe), and Overlord Brom (War Drums) to find out where the mystical Dethlehem originated.
Bovice: Even though I was a small child, I’ll never forget the elders of my village blasting the album …And Justice For All by Metallica. Up until that point I had been spinning Michael Jackson’s Bad record after Paladin school every day, but once I heard how unbelievable heavy this album was I put MJ on the shelf, stopped moonwalking, and started bugging my parents for guitar lessons. I was only seven at the time, but this is the album that got me into heavy music. “Harvester of Sorrow” was the first metal song I learned how to play.
Brutalitus: You’d be hard pressed to find a metal musician NOT influenced by Metallica. This album is a great listen for when you want to raid an enemy base camp for gold. So many common motifs in the genre stem from Metallica, and many can be heard on this album. For example, turning the bass ALL the way down in the mix!
Grimshaw Longfellow: No band has had a bigger influence on me than Death. Symbolic as an album is so heavy, sloppy, and aggressive that it never gets old. “Zero Tolerance,” the second track, made me want to play war drums from the beginning but Overlord Brom almost smashed my head in with his helmet when he heard that. Songs like “Crystal Mountain” and title track “Symbolic” keep me angry enough to keep up with the party during battle. Lastly, “Perennial Quest” is the perfect ending and makes me dream of adventures to come.
Bovice: Death is a huge influence on me as well. Probably the first progressive metal band, they were pioneers before subgenres came along and made everything complicated. They were so ahead of their time that I am convinced they must have come from the future via some kind of magical portal.
Brutalitus: When I first heard of The Black Dahlia Murder it was because they referenced Castlevania 2 in a song title. I was a little late to the party, but they have been one of my favorite bands since the release of Nocturnal. Deflorate is the album that probably influenced me the most while writing Destroyers of the Realm. From start to finish this shit is in your fucking FACE! The first track, “Black Valor,” rips your ear’s hymen apart right from the get go. The riffs are super dark and catchy while still remaining dynamic, even when things slow down. Don’t even get me started on fucking TREVOR STRNAD. The way he scribes his tale is unrivaled, painting a picture in your mind’s eye with a distinct macabre style that I absolutely love. I strive to pen our adventures with as much detail as he does. He is king of badass phrases that get you fucking pumped! For example, “LAY DOWN YOUR SWORD YOU MUST ANSWER TO ME!!!!!” is just such an awesome line…and this album is full of them.
Grimshaw Longfellow: The Black Dahlia Murder is one of my favorite bands from this realm. Sometimes I just can’t believe how heavy it is! I can always count on Deflorate when Brutalitus is being an asshole and I need a pick me up, especially track 2, “Necropolis.” I level up every time I hear that riff.
Overlord Brom: Cave In, a band named after my favorite thing to do to my enemy’s skulls, also happens to be one of my biggest influences. You may say, “But, Overlord Brom, ruler of all things, Cave In isn’t heavy metal!” To ye I say, “Dude, it’s totally cool. It doesn’t have to be the heaviest thing ever, brahhhh.” Cave In’s album, Jupiter, is a great example of how to use an instrument to compliment the vocal performance, and vice versa. Everything is just so damn tasteful on this album! I try to apply what I hear on Jupiter to Dethlehem songs, in a way. I feel like striking a good balance between the different instrumentation and using dynamics to create tension is a key component to a great song. A lot of musicians tend to overplay and Cave In’s album, Jupiter, is a great example of how overplaying isn’t necessary to showcase your musical prowess.
Bovice: I agree.
Durok Magicfist: This album was a mind blower when I finally gave it a listen. Like, I couldn’t cast spells for almost a week after hearing it. Leviathan was the first real concept album that I had heard, and it changed my view of writing music altogether. I thought “Man, the way that these guys convey the terror of the story really adds substance to every single note”. Once you understand their intent, every riff sounds deliberate and purposeful. I find myself trying to focus more on executing purposeful writing than technical guitar work. A lot of the guitar work on this album is pretty sick though, showing that you can still have technical riffs with substance. Brent Hinds has an interesting way of squeezing in guitar styles that have no business being in a heavy metal song and making it work.
Overlord Brom: I really like the drums on this album. It’s very non-traditional and it is pretty clear Brann Dailor has allocated many points in his tree to DEX because his hands are incredibly fast. I’ve been allocating points to my hand DEX too, but not through the art of drumming… Leviathan features a few of my favorite Mastodon songs with the exception of “Cut You Up WIth A Linoleum Knife,” which I consider to be the pinnacle of their songwriting abilities.
To keep up with Dethlehem, you can follow the band on Facebook! More importantly, make sure to check their music out on YouTube and on Bandcamp! Destroyers of the Realm is available for the enticing price of ‘Pay What You Want,’ but consider tossing the band a few bucks to encourage them to keep making more excellent tunes!