Although arguably underrepresented on the international scene, canny fans know that Canadians offer no shortage of quality and originality in their metal, and Vancouver-based quintet Dead Quiet is no exception. Featuring Barn Burner front man Kevin Keegan and Anciients guitarist Brock MacInnes, Truth & Ruin is the band’s third album to date, and this shows in the attention to detail paid in both in its compositional complexity and its adroit production. The album’s strength comes across most clearly in the fusion of classic rock with modern metal; although the band has mentioned Deep Purple and Judas Priest as key influences, there is no shortage of more contemporary acts lurking beneath the surface.
“Atoned Deaf” and “Forever Unsung” feature up-tempo beats and vocal delivery atop crunchy, well-flourished licks reminiscent of Mastodon and, dare I say, even a slight pop undertone à la the oft-reviled Billy Talent, while also featuring shades of bluesy, warbling riffs. The classic rock elements show most definitively in numbers such as “Of Sound and Fury,” which offers some of the more prominent Hammond-heavy accompaniment from keyboardist Mike Rosen complementing MacInnes’ meticulously double-tracked guitar, bassist Mike Grossnickle flying along in lockstep. “The Sign of a Sealed Fate” continues the vein as masterful organ flourishes from Rosen evoke some combination of Iron Butterfly meets Bleeding Through. Despite all the crunchy riffs and locked-down pocket, Dead Quiet do tastefully blend more down-tempo movements throughout Truth & Ruin. This is most notable on the titular song to the album, which features a calmer, more mournful intro complete with string accompaniment, invoking the best shades of Avenged Sevenfold’s seminal Waking the Fallen complete with a wild and ballsy solo from MacInnes, whereas “Cold Grey Death” offers more Leviathan and Remission Mastodon riffage and beats before ending in a crisp acoustic outro.
If there is one quibble to make, and it is a quibble, it is with the shortest of the songs coming in just under five minutes; one wonders if further condensing of some of the compositions would allow for more variance throughout the album. Certainly, few fans would begrudge a band for making something epic and monumental; it is, however, safe to say that Dead Quiet has done just this with Truth & Ruin. Oh Canada… you’ve done it again.