Conducting from the Grave

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Conducting from the Grave's vocalist, Mikey Powell, switches back and forth quite ably between a low death metal growl not unlike Lamb of God's Randy Blythe and a higher-pitched screech-singing voice strongly reminiscent of Cradle of Filth's Dani Filth. It's a trick popularized by the Black Dahlia Murder's Trevor Strnad, and Powell does it almost as well as Strnad, especially when he doubles his vocal tracks on the studio album, creating the impression that there are two vocalists. The music behind him is pretty good, too, but it's mostly ordinary modern death metal, with little to distinguish it from the work of dozens of peers. They've got the high-speed, melodic riffing derived from Swedish bands of the 1990s; guitar harmonies pulled from early-'80s metal; squealing, squiggly guitar solos; the detuned bass of contemporary deathcore; and the mechanistic, programmed drum sound that's overtaken almost all current metal. None of this vaults them out of the pack, and they haven't yet learned to write memorable songs instead of good riffs (they've got a few of the latter). Powell is a powerful vocalist who needs his bandmates to come up with better material. Conducting from the Grave would probably be entertaining live, but they're not an album act yet, at least not based on this evidence.

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