2023, Music

One of Us is the Killer (2023) by Seven)Suns

I am a sucker for chamber music adaptations of metal, so it’s no surprise I love this. (What I long for is the day somebody adapts metal into chamber music that features few or not string instruments. That would be wild!) I will try to temper my enthusiasm because this whole genre is a bit of a dead horse now, and it seems somewhat silly to get excited about an album where the main distinction is that it’s “string quartet metal” instead of the done-to-death “cello metal” thing.

The difference between this record, and the standard “cello metal” record isn’t just the instrumentation – a proper string quartet instead of all cellos – but it’s the source, the mathcore band The Dillinger Escape Plan, who play a form of metal out-there enough that Metal Evolution even has a segment where the host tries to decide if their music is even “metal.”

One of Us is the Killer is a album I don’t know quite as well as Ire Works but I still probably know it as well as any non-Ire Works non-“IIABS” Dillinger work. So that certainly helps me be a little more friendly to what is pretty extreme for most listeners of chamber music.

The playing is excellent. As anyone with any familiarity with mathcore can tell you, it’s an extremely hard genre to play. (Even if you hate mathcore, I think you would gran that mathcore is really hard to play.) I really don’t know how long it takes to nail this type of music down, but it must take it forever.

The arrangements are pretty good. There is one that includes some vocals which feels a little bit like it’s cheating. But on the whole I think they mostly capture the essence of the songs and they do a pretty good job of translating the ferocity and passion of the music into a string quartet setting. I still think it’s no substitute for the original, both in terms of the sheer volume (and dynamic changes in volume) in the originals and because of the lack of vocals – in metal, vocals often do almost as much heavy-lifting in terms of the heaviness as distortion, palm-muting and blast drumming.

But it’s pretty much exactly what I wanted from the moment I learned that it existed. I suspect it’s only for DEP fans or fans of the more out-there chamber music, but it’s fun.


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