REVIEW: Delta - Voyage

Genre: Progressive Death Metal/Metalcore
Label: Unsigned
Date of Release: February 9, 2013


Out of a vast sea of cookie-cutter deathcore bands, Delta is an act that manages to take a step away from that herd. This quintet, formerly known as Vimana, assembled in 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. They released their debut EP "Voyage" in early 2013, which would unleash a mountain of potential for this relatively new act.

The musicianship Delta showcases in this album is pretty exceptional. The vocals, for one, sound quite powerful. Although they are rather standard in comparison to traditional deathcore vocals, they are nonetheless well-performed in both their low and high ranges. The EP succeeds in displaying the band's instrumental capability as well. The guitars, though fundamentally composed of complexly brutal 'djent' riffs brought on by plenty of other bands of the progressive deathcore crowd, do show off some intriguing tunes. Examples of this include the highly potent groove at the start of "Veils" and the explosive entrance of "Reaper." The same can be said for the drums, which provide a tight framework for the music while holding some complexity.

One of the things that helps make "Voyage" somewhat identifiable compared to other deathcore releases is the use of synthesizer. The melodies it plays are surprisingly euphoric and rather heavenly, which is actually a big risk. If wrongly placed, the effects would sound very out-of-place and clunky put together with the deathcore-esque heaviness the album brings. Thankfully, this is not the case. Instead, it adds a nice sense of ambiance to contrast the brutality of the rest of the music, and actually makes way for some memorable segments throughout the EP. The usage of synthesizer is a risk that definitely was worth taking for this band.

The mixing of this album, carried out by guitarist Scott Smith and drummer Frankie Harchut, is also praiseworthy. It does tend to make the music a tad stuffy and dense at times, but for the most part, it does emit this very heavy atmosphere that helps in drawing the listener into its violence. The sound is crisp, powerful, and holds plenty of thickness to make the already-intense music even more compelling. Production-wise, "Voyage" is quite successful.

Out of all the record's aspects, however, the songwriting and composition are what really stand out of your run-of-the-mill deathcore release. The songs are structurally interesting, knowing how to suck you in with the gripping moments and bridges. They're very well-paced, and not a moment passes where the audience becomes at all indifferent to what is going on in the music. On top of that, there are a lot of moments that will have you pressing replay, such as the contrast between the ethereal synthesizer and the crunchy breakdown in "Reflections." Although the formula isn't entirely unique overall, it does bring up potential for some very intriguing sounds in the future. 

"Voyage" is, all in all, a very well-crafted and enjoyable progressive deathcore piece. If anything, it certainly is a solid start for this group, and anyone looking for something interesting within the deathcore realm should give it a check. If Delta continues to work off of their potential of producing music that balances well between brutality and complexity, then they can expect some smooth sailings on their path. 

Score: 8/10 (Great)