MPR Review of Degradations-Graves (by Joshua Kruszyna)

I review a lot of different underground metal bands. It’s the nature of my job. Lots of artists often leave me wondering, “Why the actual hell aren’t these guys more well-known?” Many of the bands I’ve been introduced to have it all – well-written songs, competent musicianship, and professional-sounding production. One of the bands that best exemplifies this is Degredations, a melodic metalcore outfit from Atlanta, Georgia. Today, we’re looking at “Graves,” their eight song debut that hearkens back to the best metalcore that the mid-2000s had to offer.

    The second the album starts, nothing is held back: Track 1, “Sine Metu,” kicks off with blistering riffs and pounding double kick drumming that lead into intense vocals that hit some brutal highs. Track 2, “Only the Dead,” continues down the same path, but showcases a bit more of Degredations’ melodic side, sounding almost like if As I Lay Dying and Unearth had an unholy orgy that took place in August Burns Red’s basement. But while the last song was more on the melodic side, “Jordan” definitely leans in a much more dissonant direction, sounding more like Lamb of God than any of the aforementioned bands. This one is sure to get some movement going in the pit. The next track, “The Descent,” is a seven and a half minute monster that shows the band experimenting with their sound a bit more. melding elements of progressive death metal and doom metal with their sound. Conversely, the next three tracks continue to shake things up by delving more into the hardcore side of the metalcore equation, yielding songs that almost cross into Hatebreed territory. The variety these guys showcase whilst staying true to their core sound is a testament to their musicianship. It is also worth noting just how crisp the production on this record is – each instrument sits perfectly in the mix, and the mastering is pro-quality. Big ups to Bradd Schlosser for doing such a fantastic job engineering this record!

    It’s clear that within the confines of the metalcore genre, Degredations aren’t afraid to push the boundaries. From start to finish, “Graves” is an enthralling listen that is bolstered by tight musicianship and amazing production. These guys have big things in store for them, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Overall Sound – 9 out of 10 (the best metalcore has to offer, mixed to perfection)

Vocal Style – 8 out of 10 (vicious lead vocals and atmospheric backing chants carry these tracks, but at times pronunciation is unclear)

Overall Song Composition – 9 out of 10 (all eight tracks showcase a different aspect of their sound)

Originality – 8 out of 10 (these guys have learned from their influences and blazed their own trail while staying true to their roots)