Sounds Like: Gut-wrenching deathcore with huge melodies and adrenaline-fuelled grooves
For Fans Of: Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, Within Destruction
Listen To: Hostage To The Empire
It used to be easy to pigeonhole new bands, but these days subgenres and genre boundaries are increasingly fluid. The result is bands like Walking Dead On Broadway, who, despite nods to influential contemporaries such as Whitechapel and The Black Dahlia Murder, carry a steadfast refusal to adhere to one singular sound. For this German five-piece, being outstanding is the pathway to longevity.
Equal parts low-end brutal deathcore, face-melting death metal riffs and haunting melodicism, the band have an unapologetic take on the ultra-modern (and heavy as fuck) formula they follow. “[In our early days], if someone was trying something unusual in music, this would immediately be rejected, like, ‘What the hell is this shit?!’ says guitarist Michael Kalusche. “I still recall when writing our first album [2014’s Aeshma], the guideline was, ‘We have to be more brutal than everyone else.’ But we are just some guys wanting to play music – in the end only self-actualisation counts for us.”
A turning point for the Leipzig crew would come in 2017 while they were focusing on writing for their upcoming new album. The departure of previous vocalist Robert Horn allowed replacement frontman Nils Richber to make his mark (“he could access an insane range, we were big fans of his voice”), and become the piece of the puzzle they never knew they’d been missing. With the ferocious Dead Era, Walking Dead On Broadway are ushering deathcore into a whole new era and celebrating a brand-new chapter.
“This time, we just wrote songs that we would like to listen to in private – it didn’t matter if it was still heavy or brutal enough. We just tried until it felt right,” Michael explains. “On [2016 album] Slaves we were already working with hooks and melody for the first time, in songs such as Pitchblack or Death Pilgrim. We’ve evolved and become open to trying out stuff – we are no longer interested in whether we’re deathcore, metalcore or whatevercore. To us, it is just metal.”
“Personally, I’ve had problems with the crude way in which early [deathcore lyric] culture has dealt with violence and anger. I can see how people felt offended,” Nils interjects. “But I also think these things have developed slowly into a positive direction and now, as a genre of music, I embrace rather than dismiss the concept of deathcore.”
Two singles – Hostage To The Empire and Gospel Of The Kingdom – dropped ahead of Dead Era’s release, and with collective video hits exceeding 500,000 and both making waves on official Spotify playlists, the response has been solid. Employing a strong visual aesthetic, the videos’ post-apocalyptic vision is in fact an illustration of what the album title points towards: the question of how to make history after history is dead. Combining neck-snapping grooves and the kind of relentless bludgeoning guaranteed to incite writhing pits, these songs are certainly enabling WDOB to harness that aggression and use it for the greater good.
“Aggression for me is like a raw jewel,” Nils concludes. “But if we want to make a difference, we must become aware of it. And make the effort to turn it into a positive – and that is as a force against apathy.”
Dead Era is out now via Longbranch and available to buy from Amazon (opens in new tab).