Christian influence permeates into all facets of the music scene, and deathcore is no exception. Shredding from Los Angeles county, Earth From Above openly proclaim their love for Christ with brutal vocals and an endless string of breakdowns. With their newest album, Numbered With The Transgressors, they manage to show that they mean business. At the same time, they definitely show that they need to fortify their sound if they hope to survive in the current music industry.
Now, I don’t want you to write them off just like that. There are more than a few moments throughout Numbered With The Transgressors where Earth From Above really shine. There is no denying the fact that the band has strung together a series of unimpressive riffs however, and the end result is nothing above the standard deathcore sound. In all honesty, part of the reason they fall short has to do with the fact that there are just so many frigging deathcore bands on the market now. They’re not extremely technical or melodic, and for the most part, the breakdowns are pretty mediocre. Couple this with a sub-standard production job and a hearty amount of preaching, and the overall experience is kind of a turn-off.
So, let’s start with the production job. It’s weak as shit. Right off the bat, it’s impossible to overlook how flat this recording sounds, and I think that this is one of two major factors that dragged this album down. The only aspect of the sound that comes through OK is the vocals. On top of that, some of the riffs actually make the guitars sound out of tune. In fact, I’m actually kind of convinced that the guitars were out of tune. It doesn’t seem like intentional discordance, and if it was intended that way, it certainly didn’t come off as natural. The melodic riffs also sound a bit out of key, but it’s not as noticeable as it is throughout the rest of the album. The other part of this album that I couldn’t get into was the aforementioned simplicity of the writing. Numbered With The Transgressors doesn’t suffer entirely from uninspired writing, but the majority of the album fails to have any semblance of a pulse.
Seeing as I’ve bashed Earth From Above quite a bit now, I might as well go on to talk about the parts I did like. The vocals are pretty decent, mostly consisting of fairly well-done low hardcore growls, but there’s also a healthy amount of black metal-esque screams. The vocals would pretty much carry this album across the finish line if the lyrics weren’t ultra-Christian. It’s not that I’m against Christianity, don’t get me wrong. I just prefer to keep blatant religion out of my music, and if I can knock Goatwhore for openly worshiping Satan, then I can rag on these guys for imposing Jesus on me during breakdowns. More often than not, the lyrical content is extremely religious, and this definitely detracted from the already-lacking deathcore experience.
Speaking of breakdowns, this album is rife with them. As I said earlier, there’s only a small handful that are really worth noting, but the ones that are worth it are particularly respectable, such as the one found in “Fatum”. There are also a few moments of noodley riff-age that came out pretty good, and two of the songs that exemplify this are “The Antidote” and the title track. The drums are passable throughout, and while they never truly impressed me, they were always on par with the style and managed not to detract from the experience.
In the end, Earth From Above is definitely not a horrible band, they just haven’t achieved greatness with Numbered With The Transgressors. I feel that if they can get a better recording the next time around, it’ll do wonders for the first impression. I’d be curious to hear what the songwriting is the next time around as well, because while it may have been fairly lackluster in this outing, I feel that there’s some potential waiting to show its face.
01. Redeemer: Greater Love
05. Vital Signs Of A Rude Awakening
06. An Abstract Struggle
07. Numbered With The Transgressors
08. Death Of Ignorance
09. Redeemed: From The Wastes
10. The Antidote