Pelagic Records has become synonymous with good metal – well, to me at least. Even if there are things on their roster I don’t necessarily jive with (very few), I can still say that it’s good stuff, so logically, with the bar they set, I expected something cool when I had the chance to cover this record for this particular premiere. I never heard of Playgrounded before this, but upon hearing their first single, I was 100% sold. Finally, another post-metal band that doesn’t just imitate ISIS or Neurosis. I’m heavily biased towards that kind of post-metal, hence my joy.

Anyway, Playgrounded ride within an interesting territory of metal. At its core, it’s a heavily riffy and chunky kind of post-metal, with a thick atmosphere, but is adorned gracefully with alternative metal, progressive rock, post-rock, and even some electronic sparkles. If you think this combo sounds good on paper, wait till you hear it in practice; it’s every bit as good as you can imagine, and then some.

The first thing that really popped in my face was the vocal delivery and its packaging. It’s extremely smooth and rich, recorded and produced amazingly well. I could almost feel the vocalist stepping out of my speakers and into my room. It’s rare that I can legitimately feel the presence of the vocalist in a mix, particularly in metal. There’s a spark and some kind of immediacy to all of it, which is really enchanting. I would say it’s definitely one of the strongest suits of the record.

The other thing that really struck me about The Death of Death was its gloomy, almost goth-like atmosphere. It spreads evenly throughout the album, permeating every layer in depth. There’s also a shade of nostalgia or wistfulness attached to all of that. It’s like it makes me daydream in black and white with static over things that never happened. However, there’s also the more subdued and atmospherically heavy parts, which sometimes veer into an oddball kind of serene mood. It’s relaxing and soothing, but there’s still something vaguely unnerving, like a vestigial remnant tugging at the very corners of my attention.

My point, ultimately, is that the emotive charge of the record is very compelling and well-executed. I was pulled into the world the band created with zero effort and maximum immersiveness coefficient. The performance aspect is also pretty sweet and solid, offering nothing to pick on, but only to enjoy. I would also like to note that the production of the record stands out well above average, especially within the metal sphere. It’s very ample, organic, and loose, yet clear, articulated, and to the point.

Alright, so, the takeaway is that The Death of Death is a really cool album that deserves your undivided attention across its entire runtime. So if you’re reading this, just hit play if you haven’t already.

Of course, make sure to follow the band on Bandcamp and/or Facebook.

Robert Miklos

Robert Miklos

What can I say? I love slapping keys and listening to squiggly air.

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