DeadRisen – Review and interview with Will Shaw
Progressive Power Metal
Availability: Out now
As far as debutalbum goes, this is one hell of a confident and selfassured one. The old adage of “hitting the ground running” applies perfectly to this New York-based metal band. The band was started by brilliant guitarist Rod Rivera (Bomma/Rivera) and bass maestro Mike LePond (Symphony X/Mike LePond´s Silent Assassin) who soon added ivory tinkler Tony Stahl (Livesay) on keyboards, tubthumper Dan Prestup (MIdnight Eternal) and last but certainly not least, rising phenomenon Will Shaw (ex-Heir Apparent) that handles the vocal duties.
“Prophecy” kicks off the record in furious fashion. Lovely shades of Symphony X shines through with massive riffing and Mr Shaw immediately shows who´s boss. Man, can this guy sing or what!? The following song; “Destiny” is even better with a huge and catchy as-all-hell-chorus. Great stuff!
Next up is “The Maker”. I´m an old fart so I was present during the first wave of Thrash Metal and basically worshipped at the altar of giants like Testament, Heathen, Flotsam and Jetsam, Death Angel and Metallica so when a ditty start with one of the coolest riffs Flotsam and Jetsam never wrote my inner teenager joins an imaginary moshpit and just lets it rip. But just to point out how versatile this band is I only have to tell you to listen to the flameco influenced midsection to prove my point.
With “Reach For The Sun” we are transported to a place where Deep Purple and Uriah Heep used to hang out in the seventies. Will Shaw shows us yet another facet of his voice, beautifully cradled in the warm embrace of Mr Stahls hammond organ and interwoven with guitar harmonies.
“Visions” smacks the listener over the head with some prime progressive metal riffage and a ferocious vocal assault. Another flamenco bit is followed by a instrumental tour de force that remains tasteful and not a constant “Hey, I´m Mister Meeseeks, look at me!” that plauges many a prog band.
“Chains of Time” have some great moments but feels somewhat like a bit of a filler. Hey, I can´t like everything, right? That would be awfully tiresome.
Things pick up immediately as “Fear and Fury” is quite awesome and catchy as a covid virus. The duration of six minutes feels like half, it flies by. It´s a tremendous song with those Iron Maiden-like twin guitar melodies as the icing on the cake. Great solos as well which is a constant during the entire album.
“But You” is a real slugger and again those Symphony X-vibes are present during the intro which I love. And I love a lot of things about this album. Imagine a mix of Annihilator, Metal Church and Vicious Rumors with an incredible singer, more varied and progressive songwriting that is absolutely top notch and you have Deadrisen.
This is a very, very good album that deserves to be heard.
As a bonus, scroll down to read a short interview with lead singer extraordinaire, Will Shaw.
Rating: 8 very strong bearded furies out of 10
*So Will, please tell us about your background. How did you discover that you could sing?
– When I was in highschool I had a music theory class and part of the class was to sing scales. When it was my turn to sing the scales provided I had to sing it in a higher range because I have a higher voice, after noticing this the teacher had me sing a few extra scales in front of the class. After a literal applause from the class the teacher had remarked that I had an unusually high range for a male. So I did what any other 18 year old kid would’ve done and decided to start singing metal.
*When did you discover hard rock/metal? Which singers are your biggest influences?
– I was introduced to metal in my mid teens by some of my friends at the time. My biggest vocal influences are James Labrie, Geoff Tate, Andre Matos, and Russell Allen.
* Your vocal range is impressive, to say the least. Have you had any formal training?
– No training as it relates to voice. However I have had some training sessions with Jaime Vendera to help improve stamina and take care of my voice during travel scenarios, in addition to that Jaime has been a great mentor for me over and years, he offers lessons and has many great books, any singers trying to make decisions for their voice or their singing career should definitely consider reaching out to him.
*You sang for legendary US prog metal pioneers Heir Apparent for a couple of years. How was it singing for a band with that kind of legacy?
– It was something very humbling to be given access to the passion and dedication of such a committed and “cult” following. The amazing singers who had previously sang for Heir Apparently certainly left large shoes to fill. Growing into the role from replacement to lead singer and eventually releasing a successful and widely well received album was something very powerful in my development as a singer. I felt I was given a shot not only by the band but the fans, and having the opportunity to do it with power and grace is something I’ll never soon forget. Gained some brothers out of the process too.
*Just recently Deadrisen released its self titled debut album. Can you give us some insight into the creation of this record?
– DeadRisen was something that formed in the mid 2010’s after Rod and Mike approached me about filling in for a gig for their other band at the time, Rivera/Bomma. During the process we bonded not only as musicians but as friends, and soon after that I was asked to join DeadRisen as an ongoing and permanent member. After agreeing to join they had already brought almost all the material to the table to be demoed and the rest was just a few writing sessions worth of refining lyrics/vocals that I had written.
*The current Corona crisis has a huge negative impact on our modern day society as a whole and is particularity devastating for musicians who lose revenue as almost all concerts are canceled due to health concerns. How are you holding up in the US?
– Luckily, I have a “Day job” working in IT and as such I am able to work remotely during these difficult times. Although, I know that many of my working musician friends are finding unique and opportunistic ways to stay productive by live streaming, hosting Q&A sessions, offering online lessons. Just lots of ways to utilize the tools we have in the modern world to help us keep busy.
*Ok, thank you so much for your time, Will! Any last words for your fans in Sweden and the rest of the world?
– I just want to thank everyone for your support and just remember that what is going on now with the virus situation is a reminder that just like with music we all have a lot more in common with one another than we often like to think, so try and find ways to come together with one another and we will get through this like we always have before! Thank you for the interview and hope you are staying safe during these dire times!