SINGLE REVIEW: Design The Skyline – “Deathgaze”

Artist: Design The Skyline
Track: “Deathgaze”
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Victory

Design The Skyline arrived on Victory Records already being considered a joke by many in the heavy music community. At the time, the band used the current fads of the scene as crutches on which to hoist their generic-yet-intense brand of metalcore. Genre fans cried foul, as did label fans, and by the time their debut arrived a wide selection of press had already stopped covering the group’s activities. Victory has never been one to admit that it has made a mistake, however, and this morning the lead single off Design The Skyline’s sophomore effort found its way online. It would be nice to think all the criticism garnered last time around would guide the latest iteration of the band, but those hoping for a complete 180 might as well turn back now.

“Deathgaze” arrived on iTunes and various other digital retailers this morning about a month after initial promotion for the song began. The opening moments do little to make us believe the band has learned or evolved in the slightest since their last appearance, with guitars lost in muddy production and squeal-like screams pushing through in their usual fashion. Then, just as you’re ready to close the window, the song stops being so by-the-numbers and attempts to become something bigger and, dare I say, more profound. The back half of “Deathgaze” plays like a completely different song written by a much more focused band. The guitars shine with a solo that rips you open despite its mediocre production, and the overall musical structure grows far more technical than anything heard on the group’s debut. They haven’t learned from all their errors, but the progression displayed in this segment of the song gives hope to their sophomore effort being completely DOA.

Though the lyrics remain decidedly juvenile and for some reason there is an insistence on pig-like screams, Design The Skyline prove with “Deathgaze” that they just might surprise us yet. It’s clear they have grown from their debut, but whether or not that growth is for the better remains to be seen. Is this the best song I’ve heard all month? No. Is it the best song I’ll hear this week? Probably not. It is, however, the best effort the DTS boys have offered to date, and I am not about to write them off just as they start getting interesting. Count me in for more, even though I’m relatively sure I’ll end up eating my words.

Review written by: James Shotwell (Twitter)

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