DED Brings The Misanthropy Back to Nu Metal on Debut
For much of the mid 2000s and early 2010s, nu metal was considered the laughing stock of the rock and metal super-genres, but a few years ago it made a vengeful comeback and arguably has been back in full swing ever since. Don’t get me wrong, we’re relatively far removed from nu metal’s 2001 heyday, now over a decade and a half after the genre’s pinnacle year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a decent amount of newer bands carrying on the torch along with the greats. Take DED for instance, a Phoenix-based quartet conceived with the goal of “bringing back the aggressive spirit authentic to [nu metal].”
Right out of the gates, DED’s debut offers up an unrelenting ferocity in both sonic and lyrical content. They appear to be channeling all of the era’s household names over the course of the record, and sometimes end up channeling multiple names on one track. Not surprisingly, mis•an•thrope has quite a few throwback moments, from the nasty low riff on the bridge of “Rope,” to the bass groove and Limp Bizkit-style rapped verses of “Anti-Everything;” from the syncopated rapping of “Hate Me” to the Korn-esque low growls present throughout, but especially on “Dead to Me.”
While DED brings forth a retro-like vibe to much of mis•an•thrope, there’s also a fresh aspect to their music as well. Much of that “updated” feel can be attributed to the electronic elements pulsing through the disc, at times more subtle, such as the opener “Architect,” and at others more prevalent, as is the case with “Rope.” There’s even a bit of a djent-like guitar tone on the blisteringly heavy “Disassociate.”
Other highlights from mis•an•thrope include the syncopated rapping paired with an uber-low groove on “Hate Me,” the vicious bridges present on many of its tracks, the beastly guitar riff on “FMFY,” and the brief but eerie whispered vocal lines on cuts like “Dead to Me.”
There’s a consistent sense of intensity throughout the whole effort. Even the more melodic rocker “Remember the Enemy” is still fairly edgy and features some bone-chilling backing vocals, particularly on the verses. The only true ballad on mis•an•thrope is the album’s closer, a piano-driven slow rocker “Beautiful.”
I could honestly write paragraph upon paragraph drawing parallels between DED’s debut and their clear inspirations. To some degree I feel like I already have. My point is, though, if you were to name any “nu metal” act popular in the early 2000s, chances are at some point on mis•an•thrope there is a sort of nod to whatever artist that may be.
I interpret this as a tip of the hat to all those who paved the way for younger acts like DED, and yet, it doesn’t feel like a simple imitation. Instead, mis•an•thrope takes all of the best elements from its influences and fuses them all into one tight, cohesive sound. Is it anything completely new or groundbreaking? No, but it’s certainly not cut-and-paste nu metal either. Lyrically, the “aggressive spirit” is definitely there, and perhaps even to its detriment. This album is not an easy listen or one to put you in a “feel good mood,” but if you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack to work out or simply bang your head and get down, I can guarantee this record will be your go-to jam.