Dead By Wednesday – Capital Conspiracy
Dead By Wednesday is a Connecticut-based Heavy metal band formed in 2006 by Christian “Opus” Lawrence. To date, they have released seven full-length albums, with Capital Conspiracy being their latest. 2016’s Darkest Of Angels was a star-studded affair, using a series of guest vocalists that ranged from Brian Fair to John Arch and Erik AK Knutson to Rob Roy. Dead By Wednesday has toured multiple times with Flotsam And Jetsam and recently did a run of shows with Generation Kill, led by the legendary Rob Dukes. In an impressive body of work, this new album shows the band at the top of their game.
- Steve Alvarez –Vocals
- Dave Sharpe – Guitars
- Michael Modeste – Bass
- Opus – Drums
Capital Conspiracy was released on June 24, 2022, via Salt Of the Earth Records. https://saltoftheearthrecords.com
- Mars In Exile
- Here Comes The Dead
- The Wake
- Darkened Times
- Pawns 2022
“Invincible” opens the album with some Spanish guitar flair from Dave Sharpe and muted vocals from Steve Alvarez. The effect is calming, especially when the ethereal sound effects are added underneath. At the 42-second mark, the song is upended, and Steve and Dave flip a switch to go full-on hardcore. Opus and Michael Modeste also do their part, coming in hard and taking the song to the next level. A chugging bridge and a sludgy breakdown create some nice dramatic shifts to the track. This is one of the best lead-off songs I’ve heard this year, and I’ve rated well over 100 so far.
Next, we get “Mars In Exile,” which begins heavy and stays there, though some melodic movements are within the hardcore composition. Steve starts with harsh vocals, though he does go clean at times. He has excellent shifting abilities, going back and forth easily. There are some layered voices, likely both Steve, though Opus is known to provide backing vocals, especially live. The solo on this one is melodic with flashes of shredding, and the rhythm is solid as can be. Opus is a creative, inventive drummer that uses variable patterns to give the songs extra depth and appeal.
“Here Comes The Dead” is one of those chantable songs. The guitars use a lot of cool bending tones, there is a choir yelling the title over and over, and the bass also uses some bent/sliding notes to accentuate the song’s texture. In some places, the vocals go from clean to harsh on a line-by-line basis, which is not as easy as they make it sound here. You get chugging guitar riffs, and a couple of quick bass fills; in other words, a song that has something for everyone. Good luck getting this one out of your head anytime soon!
Moving on to “The Wake” and “Darkened Times” are beastly tracks. “The Wake” has a killer guitar riff, and the vocals are a great mix of harsh and clean with layers underneath to offset whichever is in the lead. Opus is at his polyrhythmic best, going from full-force power beats to melodic phrasing, and Michael is in lockstep with the riff, hammering out a beauty of a bass line. “Darkened Times” has a really nice melodic opening. The vocals are mostly clean, and the backing vocals are right on point for the harmony.
“Antahkarana” opens with some Arabesque/Middle Eastern flair, including some excellent vocalizations and ambient guitar tones. The song doesn’t go heavy until the last minute, but when it turns, it turns hard. The melodic is put aside, the odd bendy notes disappear, and the heavy kicks you in the face. The vocals are a layering of overlapping, clean, and harsh that blend smoothly with the groove of the song. “Sludge” then brings a bit of doom metal to the forefront, expanding on some of the earlier sludgy movements in previous songs. Slow as molasses or fast as light, these guys bring intensity to each track.
For more social commentary, “S.O.S.” starts with news reports detailing crises that have happened in the past. Steve comes in singing clean in Spanish, then goes harsh in English. This is one of the better chugging riffs on the record, though I say that from a personal perspective, not a technical one. The tuning, the lead and fill tones, the solo, and everything about the guitars on this track just appeal to me.
“Wasteland” opens with two disparate guitar sounds, one heavy, one melodic. The vocals are clean until the almost progressive style shifts when the voice gets dark. This song has spoken word, harsh, clean, and solo vocal sections, giving the full range of Steve’s voice. Michael is on fire on this track, drawing a lot of attention to the bass as he mirrors the riff, building it up even bigger than it usually might feel since there is a lot of lead work highlighting the guitars on this one.
Concluding the album is an updated version of an older DBW song, “Pawns 2022.” After 14 years, the new version is done with the current lineup taking ownership of the song. Hardcore and angst go hand in hand, and this track is living proof that these guys are both hardcore and angry. The track is anthemic with a fully extended middle finger pointed in the direction of “the man.” This new version is tasty, making for an excellent finish to this most excellent album.
Dead By Wednesday is a hardcore metal band with a statement to make. They are not fans of corporate greed, social media addiction, or people who are generally assholes. These songs are coherent and work well together. This is not a concept to this album, but there is a theme. These songs are heavy, they’re angry, and they are delicious!
Dave’s guitar work is stunning. Steve has a voice that can melt butter or shatter glass; it just depends on what he wants to do at that moment. Michael is a high-performance engine firing on all cylinders. Opus is the driving force, keeping time, pushing the limits, and taking no prisoners. All the DBW albums have been outstanding, but this is just on a new level. This is the version of the band that puts everything together precisely, getting it all to fit perfectly. Dead By Wednesday is better now than they’ve ever been, and only looking to get stronger still.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 9
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.00