In 2013, I had the pleasure of reviewing an EP from an indie alternative metal band from Georgia. The group reminded me a lot of Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch from the secular realm. Now that same band, DIRE, is finally releasing their full-length album, simply titled Volume 1. The band claims influences from hard rock groups like 12 Stones to alt-metal stalwarts like Killswitch Engage. You can hear these influences all over the record. "All Glory" and "Keep Your Mouth Shut" present fast-paced metal songs in the vein of a Killswitch, or Five Finger Death Punch, while "Shatter" and "Farther" are a little tamer and show off the hard rock and melodic sides of the band. DIRE describes their music with four simple words: Passion. Aggression. Power. Conviction.
The opener, "All Glory," is a super strong start to the album and remains one of the best tracks after getting deeper into the album. The chorus screams out with, "All glory to one true God!" As mentioned previously, "Shatter" and "Farther" add a more mellow melodic sound in the mix. However, the metal barrage picks back up with "Guillotine." A lot of the Avenged Sevenfold vibe from the EP is gone, -- replaced by a more straightforward metal sound -- but some of that is picked back up in "Evil." Next up is the hard rock influenced "Remiss," which heads back to the melodic sounds of earlier. "Not My Home" leads into the only track that makes an appearance from the DIRE EP, the pummeling "Watch it Burn." Out of six EP tracks available, this one is very the likely the best choice for a carry over. "The Seed and the Sower" slows thing back down again with an almost sludgy sound. "Stronger" picks up the faster metal pace before nosediving back down to the acoustic intro of "Reason." Finally, "Keep Your Mouth Shut," an album favorite, kicks in full-bore. The metallic goodness keeps rolling on with "There is Yet Hope" before giving way back to the more melodic "Unbroken." Finally, the album closes out "Wages of Sin." The song talks about Jesus' sacrifice and what it means to us, "Hanging here for all to see, this body broken beyond recognition. I'd be lying if I said I'm owed less than each and every wound inflicted. I know that only blood could set it right and though it flows for all the filthy things I've done; it isn't mine" It's the longest song on the album and serves as a great closer with several lyrical highlights. Another is the very last line, simply declaring, "Long live the King!"
DIRE has put together a solid release with their debut full-length album. Fans of constant and heavier metal from front to back may only like some select songs, but those willing to jam to more melodic rock mixed with their metal will get the real payoff. Thankfully, the band does a good job of mixing the two sides of the coin. Never do you feel like you get overdosed with one sound, or that the album is too sporadic. Enjoyable music, solid musicianship, good clean and growled vocals, and Christ-centered lyrics should put these guys on the radar for metal labels. Don't be surprised if you see DIRE on a label like Solid State, Facedown, or even Victory in the near future. DIRE is playing a brand of alternative metal that's not well represented in the Christian community. Listen to Volume 1 now and hear the passion, aggression, power, and conviction that DIRE brings.
- Review date: 7/28/16, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com