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Album Review: DIETH To Hell and Back

8.5 Reviewer

Back in the middle of last year, a new supergroup dubbed Dieth of sorts dropped a single, seemingly out of nowhere. Having just been fired from Megadeth for reasons we all know way too much about, longtime bassist Dave Ellefson appears in an angry and deliciously heavy music video with a refreshing "fuck you" attitude alongside a couple of extreme metal veterans. They had me and I was very much intrigued. This song really didn't sound anything like Megadeth, and frankly, I was OK with that.

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Fast forward a number of months and I get the debut Dieth record, To Hell and Back, in my mailbox. I play it not really know what to expect. I cue it up and wow – I'm really liking this record. There is a lot this band has to offer and it's really quite refreshing.

Now, as you know, I was hooked from the first single, "In the Hall of the Hanging Serpents" which is just a slamming banger of a cut with a really heavy dose of Swedish death metal. It's the perfect infusion of that Entombed A.D. sound at the hands of Guilherme Miranda mixed with groove from drummer Michal Lysejko (ex-Decapitated). It's just a song you can't help but bang your head to and smile. Oh – and that video – I love that video so much. No bullshit, no nonsense… it's like Dieth simply announcing, "Here we are. We came to make to really straightforward metal song… and if you don't like it, fuck off" with that last part accentuated by Ellefson's not-so-subtle message on the back of his bass.

Speaking of videos, the video for the title track is another winner. A clear, unabashed death metal burner, "To Hell and Back" was directed and produced by Robert Zembrzycki. It also features the band in a performance soundstage but there's a bit of a story as well that's interspersed with shots that seem to have been filmed in Poland in the autumn countryside. And what is Dave doing in this video at about three minutes in?! Is that a bible he's ripping pages out of?! Inquiring minds want to know!

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But they're not done yet… the really big surprise for me was this… Dave Ellefson contributes lead vocals! You can hear Dave's clean leads on the ballad "Walk With Me Forever," which is a serious song about the loss of a loved one and their memory providing the strength to carry on. How is his performance? It's actually pretty good. Dave certainly has a voice and it's good that he finally got the creative outlet to utilize it. The song itself is a departure from the musical style of the rest of Dieth's record but it works well and helps to add some welcome diversity.

Ellefson wasn't done though with just one lead vocal. He shares vocals with Guilherme on "Heavy is the Crown," and does the backing vocals on "Don't Get Mad… Get Even," "To Hell and Back," and "Mark of Cain." I'm glad that Dave has been able to really branch out in his post-Megadeth career and do some things he ordinarily wouldn't be able to do.

Overall, this Dieth record has so much to offer a variety of different metal fans. Breakneck paced rhythms on many of the tracks, thrash-infused death metal on songs like "Wicked Disdain," and a heavy accentuated bass throughout which really hits the apex on "Heavy is the Crown." Diversity is the key and the fact that the band switches up their sound from track to track makes this a really intriguing listen.

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Now, I will say that if there's one song on To Hell and Back that I could live without it would be the painfully cliche "Don't Get Mad … Get Even." Granted, I have a feeling I know what this song is all about and I respect that emotion, however, the song doesn't add anything to the LP and the mundane chorus in between predictable verses. The music, especially that bass, saves the song but I just wish they went with a better lyric here. Think "Mechanix" by Megadeth. Great song in terms of music. Cringeworthy lyrics.

I really do enjoy listening to this record and you should definitely check it out. Each of the three musicians really are able to put their own spin on each of the songs and it just plain works. I hope these guys play some US shows soon.

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