New Jersey progressive metalcore outfit Dig Two Graves dropped their Deathwish EP just a moment ago.

According to the band, “We would like to dedicate the album to Pete from Big Bang Music, the local music shop Kenny and myself [Josh] grew up going to. He recently passed away, and he was a great man. The entire album is primarily based around hurt and loss. We tried to get the message of solitude across with the subtle space theme. If you can hear what we put in the music, it’s a feeling of genuine loneliness.”

Made up of Mike Reisser (vocals), Josh Brewer (guitar), Jesse Agins (bass), and Kenny Meeks (drums), Dig Two Graves’ music blends elements of progressive metal, djent, and moody dream pop into a fresh, distinctive sound separating the band from the prevalent run-of-the-mill sound of today’s metalcore.

Deathwish comprises six-tracks, and I love the title juxtaposition between the first and last tracks, “As Above” and ‘So Below,” kind of like contrasting “alpha” and “omega,” the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It injects the EP with a supernatural ambience.

“As Above” opens on eerie sound effects flowing into stuttering, oscillating tones merging into “Track 2,” a potent prog-metal tune full of stridently muscular guitars topped by sparkling, gleaming synth accents. Reisser’s voice enters, infusing the tune with affluent melodicism that soon takes on growling demonic flavors.

“Wick” features a tasty Linkin Park-like intro segueing into a metalcore melody flavored with filaments of dream-pop, creamy, complex, and iridescent, followed by ramping back into snarling guitars and grimacing vocals. The drums on this track really stand out, especially the placement and torrid pace of Meeks’ stellar double-bass.

The title track travels on grinding guitar colors, raw and ferocious, riding frenetic percussion. Reisser shifts seamlessly from rasping fiendish timbres to brief interludes of intense melodicism, giving the tune a bifurcated divergence.

“Iron Lungs and Paper Hearts” opens on gleaming, elegant colors, almost like a nursery rhyme and then transitions into nightmarishly thick guitars and raging vocals reflecting melodic tones, as if in a sonic mirror.

“So Below,” the omega to “As Above’s” alpha, opens on chiming notes mixed with streaming textures of color, and then hammers into a burly metalcore melody that descends once again into velvety surfaces, prior to exploding into fulminating dynamics. Reisser’s howling tones are topped by a delicious female voice, thus maintaining the appositional concept of the EP.

This is a great EP, full of fluctuating soundscapes, ranging from silky melodicism to titanic tumescence, all carefully and tastefully wrought.

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