Yep, it's another one of those "what happened to this band?" reviews, much like the case with THE AUTUMN OFFERING's newest polished turd. I never got a chance to spin 2007's "Venom & Tears", so I can't comment on it, but I did enjoy 2005's "Vendetta", an album that basically ripped off PANTERA and did a fabulous job doing so. "Deathless" is an ill fated attempt to expand the THROWDOWN sound by essentially expanding the rip-off list to include GODSMACK and '90s METALLICA. The result is an album that stumbles badly through vanilla melodies, only occasionally finding redemption by sticking to more of a meat and potatoes approach.
By far the biggest problem with "Deathless" is the incorporation of GODSMACK radio rock, complete with Sully Erna's inflection in the vocals of Dave Peters, that is, when he's not doing a James Hetfield or Phil Anselmo impression. The increased use of melody, particularly on the choruses, is not in and of itself the problem; it is purely an issue of generic songwriting. The main melodies on the first several songs — "The Scythe", "This Continuum", "Tombs", "The Blinding Light", and the METALLICA-esque "Widowed" — are just awful. The fact that the band occasionally offers up a robust groove only marginally helps. If anything, the few decent riffs heard are difficult to recognize with melodies that are so distractingly subpar.
Things get better on the up-tempo, thrashing "Headed South" and even the refrain is decent. After a couple potholes things improve even more with the PANTERA groove and surprisingly catchy "Skeleton Vanguard", as well as on "Pyre & Procession" and "Black Vatican" before swirling back down the toilet on the appropriately named "Burial at Sea". The few (relative) bright spots at least push "Deathless" toward mediocre. Otherwise, forget about it. "Deathless" is just not happening.