Man, this music biz is crackers. Not news, I know, but sometimes you come across a local band or album that makes you wonder why some bands “make it” and others –– perhaps just as talented, probably just as driven –– seem doomed to obscurity.
Heavy metalists Deaf Angel have been doing their thing since 2005, and while they’ve experienced some success, they’re still not a household name, which is mind-boggling considering they’re just as good if not better than most marquee heavy metal acts out there. The Fort Worth quintet has all the right ingredients. Tight, loud, math-y musicianship? Check. Lots of double-kick drum action? Check. Gothic look? Yep. Outstanding frontperson? That too, plus a new, sterling debut album that almost never saw the light of day due to some legal and financial issues related to a former record label. “It’s been a very long, hard road getting this album out,” said drummer Scott Van Slyke.
Recorded January through March, Brutally//Beautiful is 11 tracks (including an instrumental intro) of polished, sonorous, delightfully circuitous metal that’s richly textured and ready for radio. The best track is “Memories Don’t Fade.” Sweetly sentimental, the song features a juicy, melodic chorus and is partially driven by 32nd-note double-kick beats. The album, recorded with Cris Marshall at his Tonal Recording Studio in Haslet, is the band’s third recording, the previous two being EPs in 2009 and 2011. There’s no doubt that Brutally//Beautiful is Deaf Angel’s best recorded product to date. “The reason why it took so long to get a full-length out is because we have constantly tried to better ourselves, to really believe in the music we are putting out,” Van Slyke said. “We wanted to make sure that the whole album had our hearts 100 percent into it.”
The band has already toured the region and the Midwest but is planning to go even farther this year. “Touring is a necessity if you want to get your music that you’ve put so much into out there,” Van Slyke said.
Though the Deaf Angel folks have invested a lot of time and money into Brutally//Beautiful, they’re giving the album away. It’s available for download at reverbnation.com/deafangel. “A lot of our fans have stuck by us through all the trials and tribulations we have endured,” Van Slyke said, “so we thought as a way to give back to our fans and family we would” give the album away.
There’s really no explanation why Deaf Angel isn’t headlining major metal festivals and getting major airplay daily all over the globe, and to ask Van Slyke why would be a slap in his face. Uh, why aren’t you more successful, musician dude? The moral of the story is that Van Slyke, vocalist Tina Downs, guitarists Lee Daniels and Duston Daulton, and bassist Steve Brandon are a solid metal band producing solid metal. “We finally feel like we are making headway with every new fan we make because the music we are creating we and our listeners believe 100 percent in,” Van Slyke said.
Last week, we misidentified the producer of Guthrie Kennard’s recent album, Cross Your Heart. Kennard and Jeff Ward co-produced it. We regret the error.
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