Subliminal Fear is an impressive act from Barletta and Bari, Italy, dabbling in the fusion of modern melodic death metal and electronica (a trend that’s really been growing in popularity over the past decade and a half). Ironically, upon hearing them for the first time, the first band I thought of comparing them to was Disarmonia Mundi (another modern melodic metal powerhouse from Italy). Furthermore, a lot of their guitar/electronic progressions have a great deal in common with songs you’ll hear on recent Dark Tranquillity releases (Atoma, Construct).
Their latest album, Escape From Leviathan (released in May, 2016 on Inverse Records) is a true testament to what this mixture of musical ideas should be. So many “cookie cutter” bands have taken cues from In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Disarmonia Mundi, Sybreed or Mnemic and have turned a once passionate fan base into a collective of jaded ears. That being said, it’s nice to hear a band who are pulling off this genre in a refreshing way.
In the realm of vocals, Subliminal Fear aren’t strangers when it comes to diversifying. Utilizing two vocalists, Carmine Cristallo and Matteo De Bellis, the harsh (screaming) range on this record is just as broad and interesting as the clean range. Their choices never seem to conflict with the riff at hand and their transitions are always as smooth as silk. Comparatively speaking, it seems as though Cristallo and De Bellis have taken ideas from Sybreed, Mnemic or Fear Factory (all bands hailed as major influences by Subliminal Fear) and then expanded upon them in some very positive ways. During the tracks, “Nexus” and “Escape From Leviathan”, I even heard a touch of Bono (U2) in the clean voice. You may not hear it, but I sure did. All in all, these are two well rounded vocalists who know how to do what’s best for the song.
The guitars on this album, performed by Domenico Murgolo, are (particularly) structured very well throughout all 10 songs. Nothing sounds at all rushed, eccentric or displaced. Much like the vocals, every guitar change, drop out, etc. seems to be what’s in the best interest of the tune at hand. There is also a perfect balance between the guitar work and the electronic programming which is also present throughout the whole album. This should imply that a lot of time and careful planning went into each section of each track. It’s hard not to appreciate craftsmanship like that.
Subliminal Fear’s rhythm section also knows no bounds. Every member of this band seems to know what their imperatives are. As a musician in a band this “busy” (in terms of overall sound), it’s important to know your place at all times. Knowing when to stand out and when to take the back seat are so essential with this music and this band pulls it off masterfully. Bassist, Alessio Morella and drummer, Ruggiero Lanotte each bring their own magic to the table and make these songs shine.
It’s also worth mentioning that Guillaume Bideau (Mnemic, One-Way Mirror) appears on the opening track, “Phantoms or Drones”, Jon Howard (Threat Signal, Arkaea) appears on “Evilution” and Lawrence Mackrory (Darkane) appears on “All Meanings They’ve Torn”.
My top tracks on Escape From Leviathan are easily, “Phantoms or Drones” for its catchy yet ominous intro vibe, “Escape From Leviathan” for its perfect representation of the band’s both heavy and soft sides, “Evilution” for its standout heaviness, making it the perfect midway jam for the record and “Living in Another World”, a very impressive Talk Talk cover.
Below, I’m going to post Subliminal Fear’s lyric video for “Self-proclaimed Gods”- another catchy banger from Escape From Leviathan. I think it’s another good representation of SF’s overall vibe, so check it out and judge them for yourselves:
Thanks for reading, Metallers! There’s so much more to come in 2017!