Australia brings us our Sun-Signed artist this week; Wings of Thanatos, a death metal band with symphonic and progressive edges. As ever, if you want your band featured here send us an email and we’ll make it so. There’s a backlog but we’re catching up.
Currently a one man project, Wings of Thanatos is the brainchild of Sean Donleavy. The one man thing is a point I really have to emphasise, either I got suckered when the talent was being handed out, or people like Donleavy just have some sort of gift. He’s listed as being responsible for “compositions, vocals, guitars, bass, key programming and drum programming,” a job list he doesn’t take lightly.
An EP, Dualism, is currently available on Bandcamp for free (or for as much as you want to pay). Featuring four tracks and about twenty-five minutes of music (I said there were prog edges, you can’t be prog without at least one ten minute song), it’s a testament to hard work.
The riffs, bass lines and vocals are satisfyingly meaty. Despite elements of other sub-genres, death metal is the main focus of the Dualism EP, with the keys providing backup. It’s the mark of a good song when you could ditch the keys and synth tones and still be left with a more than solid death metal track. However, the additional instruments take the music from standard, albeit longer, death metal to a far more atmospheric collection of songs.
While there is the odd moment where you feel the keys get a bit overbearing, the overall composition works to remedy it. As mentioned previously, the death metal is the main focus so even if there’s the occasional key overload, the strength of the song base makes up for it. However, tracks like Atonement for Sin really utilise the keys.
Programmed drums can be a dangerous option, if it goes wrong it can go properly wrong; timings and tones can be completely out. However, there are very few moments you can tell they’re programmed (though if you’re a drummer you may notice more), overall it presents a surprisingly authentic tone.
Vessels of Flesh presents a solid opener before the lengthy Symbols. The instrumental Acheron serves as a decent ear break between the Symbols and the immediate heavy hit of Atonement for Sin. By the end of the EP you’re left wanting more which is the goal of a good EP. Nothings goes on too long, the listener doesn’t have the time to zone out and is left wanting more music instead of hoping for a quick end to an album.
Atonement for Sin itself is my personal highlight from the album. This is where the keys really work and that’s not to mention the riffs. For what feels like the hundredth time I’m saying it, the fact that unsigned projects and bands are coming out with material such as this demonstrates an incredibly bright future for the genre (and the artists themselves), plus it shows up many established bands who should be coming out with this rather than the same recycled riffs.
Lots of bands and artists have tried and failed to make symphonic and prog work with death metal and many have failed. Wings of Thanatos is definitely a success story. Whether it will turn into a fully fledged band or remain a one man effort I don’t know, but if Donleavy can do this solo, I definitely want to hear what he can do with a full band in tow.
Click here to find out more from the Wings of Thanatos Facebook
Click here to listen to the EP on Bandcamp