Hamilton, Ontario’s Deathpoint is a terrific up and coming metal band with a spectacular recently released sophomore album, “Sinister” and a strong desire to kick your ass during their high energy live performance. Despite going through more than their fair share of upheavals since the band’s first live appearance in late 2007 the band has weathered the storms during a period that saw the release of two full-length albums and an EP. If one was only able to use a single word to describe Deathpoint it would certainly be perseverance.
The band’s origins go back to 2005 in the basement of original bass guitarist Brad Gold. It was in this setting that Gold enlisted the aid of like-minded musicians amongst his childhood friends and the vision of what we see and hear today began. Since that time the band has experienced multiple lineup changes that we won’t enumerate in the interest of brevity; suffice it to say that while certainly different in terms of personnel, the present lineup is more than able to carry out the vision of the band’s originators. The longest serving member at this point is guitarist Tim Ross, a gifted player who took the lead during our recent conversation.
Throughout the ups and downs one thing has remained constant: the band’s commitment to thunderous melodic groove metal and high energy performance. Extreme Metal Tv had a chance to catch up with members of the band prior to their recent show at Hamilton’s Bay Front Music Hall, sitting down to chat with the aforementioned Tim Ross, guitarist Anthony Pudda, bassist Kyle Clark and manager Taz McManus.
Given how the music business has changed so dramatically over that last two decades, we asked Deathpoint about the challenges of competing in a musical environment where everyone with a guitar, a computer and some knowledge of Pro Tools (multitrack recording software), can release a decent sounding product, at least on the surface of it. The consensus amongst the band members was that while there is certainly more competition as a result, the benefits far outweigh the potential negatives. Anthony stated that the technology actually helps young bands because they can do all of their writing and pre-production outside of the costly environment of a professional studio. Tim stated that the added competition in the marketplace forces bands push hard to produce their best work. Kyle noted that digital recording certainly makes the process easier in that a producer can cut and paste the best sections from multiple takes but if a band can’t reproduce the tunes live, performance will suffer and the fans will notice. The band’s live chops are therefore more important than ever.
On Illegal Downloading
We were interested to hear the thoughts of the band on the touchy subject of illegal downloading which is, sadly, still an issue for musicians and bands the world over. From a fan’s perspective my position is this: while I don’t download illegally I often check out an album stream from YouTube or buy a well-reviewed album from iTunes. At that point if I am truly enamored of the artist’s work I will actually buy a hard copy of the product for the CD collection so in this particular case the artist actually gets paid twice which isn’t a bad thing. The truth of the matter is that if you love a band and want to see them continue to produce new music, it is absolutely essential that you fork out a few bucks to support their efforts. Gone are the days of gazillionaire record companies footing the bill for bands to get their product into the hands of the general public. If you doubt this truth you only need refer to established bands like Chimaira who ran a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2013 to get an album out. Deathpoint’s members have an optimistic view of the continuing penchant of consumers stealing an artist’s music. Kyle admitted to doing a little downloading himself but only in the context of checking something out for the purpose of deeming it worthy of a purchase. Tim and Anthony suggested that while some people may download their album illegally, most will do so to check them out then buy the album digitally or on CD. While we may deem their answers as being optimistic the fact remains that if you love a band then you absolutely must buy their stuff: go to a show, buy a t-shirt and a CD and support the musicians who work bloody hard to provide you the opportunity to bang your head and throw the horns.
Anyone who knows anything about the music business today understands that success is a relative term. Gone are the days of six figure advances from major labels and private jets, unless of course you happen to be Black Sabbath doing a 40th anniversary record and tour. Apart from that, bands are footing the costs of touring and recording and success is a relative term. We asked Deathpoint how successful the latest release, “Sinister” has been. The band’s manager Taz stated that sales haven’t been earth shattering but that overall response has been great. Upon release, “Sinister” landed in the top 20 of the mainstream Rock chart south of the border with the opening track, “For Your Eyes Only” getting a lot of airplay. The album continued to chart top 20 for four weeks and remained in the top 50 for ten while being up against major league names like Avenged Sevenfold, Megadeth and Five Finger Deathpunch. For the band, while millions aren’t exactly streaming into their bank account, these are encouraging numbers and equal a measure of success. Plans to tour the U.S. and capitalize on the abundant airplay are in the works. In the meantime the band continues to tour Ontario and Quebec and tell us that they consistently draw a growing legion of fans in those regions.
The Album, “Sinister”
EMTv’s features and reviews section wasn’t up and running when Deathpoint’s second full-length was released so let us give you a mini-review here. What struck me the most when I first caught wind of the album through their publicist Asher Media was how solid every aspect of the release was from the songwriting to musicianship to production; this is an album that has every right to be competing with the likes of the big bands mentioned in the above section. The guitar sound is meaty and satisfying with creative playing that brings to mind the likes of Soilwork. Singer Tom Emman’s voice switches from growl to melodic passages with ease and each style is used suitably in songs that are as well-crafted as anything you’ll hear in the genre. Highlights on the album include “Between the Lines” which is also the first official video offering, “Sick, Sick, Sick” and the closing track, “Thirty Stiches”. Lyrically the band focuses on human brokenness, mental illness and suffering, topics that suit the band’s dramatic and heavy writing style perfectly. There is certainly a lot to sink your teach into on “Sinister” and I would give it a solid 4.5/5 rating, with half a star missing only because I think the band has room to grow and the potential to produce and even more spectacular result.
Long after our chat at the venue we had the chance to hear Deathpoint live and it was certainly worth the wait. While one might expect the newer members to be tentative on stage this simply wasn’t the case. Anthone Pudda and Kyle Clark, new guitarist and bassist respectively, handled their parts with a degree of precision and clarity that allowed the band to maintain studio sound of “Sinister” which is to say with great guitar tone and huge balls on the bottom end. Drumming for the show was more than ably handled by Joey Muha of Hamilton metal veterans Threat Signal. Unfortunately with the middle act of the evening going well over time Deathpoint’s set was cut short but highlights included the crowd participation number “Sick, Sick, Sick” as well as “Between the Lines”. Singer Tom Emmans prowled the stage with a convincing menace befitting the lyrical content and a good time was had by all. I would certainly spend my hard earned cash to see the band headline a longer show where more of their excellent tunes could be showcased.
The Bottom Line
If you haven’t heard “Sinister” yet and are a fan of melodic groove/death metal in the vein of Soilwork then buy it now.
To check out the excellent video for “Between the Lines” visit HERE
EMTv and Reverend Rock would like to thank the band and its management for their time and hospitality.