Extreme metal with a purpose, DAATH is poised to emerge as one of the most exciting new bands of 2007 with its Roadrunner debut, The Hinderers. Fusing elements of death, thrash, and black metal with technical virtuosity and a decidedly Atlanta groove, the 13 songs comprising The Hinderers showcase the crushing power of this Georgia six-piece.
DAATH is a Hebrew word meaning knowledge, referring to a knowledge not regularly attained by ordinary masses. Says keyboardist and conceptualist Mike Kameron, “On a mental level, DAATH acts as a doorway between instinct and intellect, and in our opinion the struggle between those two aspects of mind is what causes most of the ills in the world.”
DAATH is atypical of extreme metal bands, not just making heavy music to make heavy music. There is a purpose beyond the headbanging. “Basically,” says guitarist Eyal Levi, “We're exploring the inverted tree of life. It's a Kabalistic concept. There are thirteen points on the tree and each one of the songs is representative of the points. Mike will research the attributes for each one of those points and then we figure out what the theme is and write the lyrics based on that. The music is lots of back and forth… we're not one of those bands that gets together and jams. I'll write, Mike will write and then we'll get together and try to make things happen, but it's definitely a team effort. Everyone has to like what we're doing or we don't do it.”
Mike adds, “The theme of the album is the sum of all self-defeating views which keep us from rising above the norm. We're all dealing with it and we all have things we've gotta get through in our lives, which are completely internal in order to improve and move on. We've all gone through it in this band and this represents where we're at. But we're definitely not a religious band or anything like that - it's about exploration. It's an ongoing process. A struggle. Mainly we're just using the tree of life as a framework for psychological exploration and exploring esoteric themes associated with the tree of life.”
Eyal describes the band's unique sound as versatile. “We all have a lot of influences. I started playing the violin when I was four, and I listened to everything from Gustave Mahler to the Doors to Aphex Twin. I don't think that we're traditional death metal. I would say that we're progressive extreme music. We draw from various styles of extreme music – death, black, doom, whatever… we throw in electronica, we throw in orchestral, we throw in some classic rock. We're definitely not sticking to death metal. We're not limiting it. We're always trying to grow, and we already decided which aspects of our sound we want to emphasize more. Our goal is to add new elements with each record, and hopefully we'll always be doing something that people like.”
The band is pushing the boundaries of traditional death metal. There is a lot of groove to the songs on The Hinderers, notably on “Subterfuge,” “From The Blind” and “Ovum.” “That's probably just because we're from Atlanta, you know?” Eyal laughs. “I think that's got a lot to do with it. We like music that grooves, and I think one of the main problems with extreme metal is that there's no real groove to it. That is what keeps it from going to wider audiences. For example, with 'Subterfuge' I specifically wanted that song to be 'Atlanta death metal' to bring a crushingly heavy groove that would make people's heads nod, but to also incorporate some very ethereal parts and then a bad-ass solo!”
DAATH was started by Eyal Levi, Mike Kameron and Sean Farber, who have been playing in bands since they were in high school. The three friends attended school at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Eventually, the guys left school to concentrate full-time on making music as the project which would become DAATH proved far too promising.
The Hinderers was produced by James Murphy (Disincarnate ex-Death, Testament, Obituary) and co-produced by DAATH. James and Eyal engineered the record with the help of Andy Sneap, while Colin Richardson mixed the album for them. Eyal says on working with the pair, “Colin and Andy are two dudes that I wanted to work with at some point in time in my music career… taken care of on this album. It just goes without saying what an excellent experience this has been.”
As DAATH prepares for the release of The Hinderers on February 27th, 2007, Eyal remains hard at work writing and practicing. “I'm working on what I can do to promote the record. That's basically it - that's my life right now. We've been working on this record, writing and recording it since 2004. It's been a long time coming and there's a lot of energy and excitement built up. Our entire focus is on DAATH. We don't have much down time.”