"The Deceivers"
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Eyal Levi: Guitar
Sean Z: Vocals
Krimh: Drums
Rafael Trujillo: Lead Guitar
Jesse Zuretti: Orchestration, Synth, Guitar
David Marvuglio: Bass

Lauded progressive death metal band Dååth has emerged from its 13-year hiatus with a new album, The Deceivers, at once a devastating reminder and giant leap forward that showcases the technical wizardry and brutal intensity that the Atlanta, Georgia-bred band is capable of.

Band founder/guitarist Eyal Levi has overseen an overhaul of the lineup, though importantly Dååth still features force-of-nature vocalist Sean Zatorsky, who has fronted the band since 2007. Dååth circa 2024 finds Levi determined to expand on the aural and lyrical journey he set out on when the band first formed in 1999.

"Now Dååth is more orchestrated, more over the top. We have more melodies and they're beautiful," Levi says. That's what The Deceivers is: Monstrously heavy but beautifully orchestrated, blessed with melodies that will haunt anybody fortunate enough to hear it. The nine tracks were produced by Levi, with Andrew Wade doing vocal production, John Douglass engineering, Jens Bogren mixing, and Tony Lindgren mastering.

"We're doing all those things that I felt were missing in the past," Levi explains. "Knowing that vision upfront, it made it very easy to choose new band members who were already doing that sort of thing." Levi and Sean Z. are now joined by Kerim "Krimh" Lechner on drums, Jesse Zuretti on orchestration and guitar, lead guitarist Rafael Trujillo and bassist David Marvuglio. When putting the new lineup together, Levi and Zatorsky vowed not to settle in any way shape or form. Either the band members would be a perfect fit, or they would have to keep looking. And that meant finding musicians who were as good at writing as they were at playing.

"Help us come up with the songs, bring that to the table," was Levi's m.o. "We want to write the songs with you. Be a part of the process." To that end comes Austrian player Krimh, of Septicflesh and ex-Decapitated, who Levi calls "my favorite drummer in metal. He's the right combination of taste, brutality, speed, power, and musicality. And he's really fun to watch playing." But Krimh is more than just a killer player. "I would get to a part of a song where I didn't know where to go next, and he would always have some insight. He's a phenomenal songwriter and collaborator, super-creative," Levi says. "I've never had someone critique my riffs as well as he did, in a way that then helped get to the next place. At that point, I was like, 'Damn, we need this motherfucker in the band!"

The drummer wasn't the only valuable addition to the new creative team. "Jesse has been my friend for over a decade now," Levi says. "We've worked together before, but I've also watched him build his career as a composer (formerly with Marvel, and now working on a soundtrack for Riot Games). With Rafael, our classical backgrounds helped us connect musically, and it was so collaborative, which is so meaningful, not to mention the fact that he is an ungodly guitarist. Truly one of the greatest living guitarists. David is just a monster on bass. It was one of those things where I hired him to play a session on the first three songs, and he just murdered it."

Guest guitar solos are contributed across numerous tracks by Jeff Loomis (Nevermore, Arch Enemy); Mark Holcomb (Periphery); Dean Lamb (Archspire); Per Nilsson; (Scar Symmetry, Meshuggah); Spiro Dussias (Platonist), and Dan Sugarman (Ice Nine Kills), with renowned video game composer Mick Gordon (Doom Eternal) contributing sound design and synth to "Purified By Vengeance."

The album title is the continuation of a theme that began with 2007's The Hinderers and continued with 2009's The Concealers. "Those titles are about the outside world," Levi says. "They're not about us. While they touch on the self-destruction and self-deception we all occasionally fall victim to, this album is a scathing critique and exploration of certain societal elements. The Deceivers and obstructers in life. Those who impede your progress through subterfuge and manipulation."

That critique of the modern world is on full display in the single and video "Hex Unending," which features the lyrics: "Cleanse me, Rid the malignancy, Commence deliverance, Severance, From this wretched hex unending." "It's about shedding skin, cleansing the old me; reinventing, and carving a new path vocally, physically, and mentally," explains Sean Z. "This song needed to be front and center on the record."

"Ascension," which explores mindless conformity and how easily one can fall victim to coercion, is no less furious. From the first hit of the drum opening, the song is a powerhouse that delivers a journey through larger-than-life orchestrations fused with flattening metal devastation. "This song is a beast. Riffs for days, brutality and groove, there are soaring solos all over the place," says Levi, "plus, it's peppered with parallel universe Danny Elfman moments."

After 12 years on hiatus, Dååth found their ideal new home at Metal Blade, signing to the label and wasting no time creating new music, cover songs (Death's "The Philosopher" and Morbid Angel's "Where the Slime Live") and reissuing previous albums. The first new song from the revitalized Dååth, "No Rest No End" (released ahead of the album in February 2023), features guest solos by Spiro Dussias and now-Dååth member Trujillo, who impressed Levi so much while guesting on the track that he was invited to join the band. Metal Injection called the song "massive," with Sean Z. saying, "The first time I heard 'No Rest No End' in demo form, I was blown away! I immediately knew exactly what I wanted to do vocally. The words practically flew off the page. During every step of the creation process, the song was an obvious masterpiece."

Fans will rejoice at the knowledge that this vital band has returned, though Levi admits that the hiatus wasn't by choice, and he experienced a sense of loss during the unexpectedly long break, saying, "I kept wanting to get back together. It was tough psychologically." But Levi kept himself busy working in studios for other bands (The Black Dahlia Murder, The Contortionist, Battlecross and many more), honing his production and engineering skills. The longer he spent producing meant the longer he was away from his guitar. But Zatorsky made it known that he was ready when the time was right. But as months and years passed, Levi, disillusioned in his attempts to keep Dååth going, started to wonder if that time would ever come.

Levi co-founded Unstoppable Recording Machine, a school that teaches metal music production, and its sister school, Riffhard, that teaches metal guitar, and helped turn them into hugely successful businesses. In the years that followed, URM and Riffhard were Levi's primary focus. Yet every day, Levi would be asked about the status of his band. Interest never waned.

"I would get DMs all the time," he says. "Whenever I'd do Q&As, at least one person would always ask about Dååth, and the same thing would happen to the other guys from the old lineup. Then I noticed that our streaming numbers were gradually building without us doing anything. I thought it was curious but at that point I had zero interest in ever playing guitar again."

But when the pandemic lockdowns and an injury stunted Levi's ability to work out, he needed an outlet for his energy. He picked up his guitar again. After shaking off years of rust, his love for his instrument was reawakened. "Once my playing was starting to sound like me, I started writing and the riffs started to sound like Dååth," Levi says. "At that point, I spoke to Sean, and he told me that he'd been waiting for this phone call for 11 years."

The band began their journey in 1999 and stayed busy for just over a decade before its 2011 hiatus. In that time, Dååth released four studio albums-2004's Futility, The Hinderers in 2007, The Concealers in 2009, and their self-titled LP in 2010. Tours with Cattle Decapitation, Dark Funeral, Cynic, Nile, Slayer, Dragonforce, Goatwhore, Chimaira, Dying Fetus, and Devildriver followed. Dååth also landed a coveted spot on Ozzfest playing before tens of thousands of fans in outdoor amphitheaters across the US, in addition to the infamous and long-running metal tour Summer Slaughter.

Levi believes this is the most focused and deadly version of Dååth to date and is excited about what's in store. "The chemistry is great, because we can talk about stuff that would normally be uncomfortable for a lot of musicians to do without causing problems," he says. He's lived a lot of life since the band went away over a decade ago and admits that his mindset is very different now than it was during the original run. "We're taking this to its full potential, letting nothing and nobody stand in our way," Levi concludes. "If you're not going all out, what's the point?"

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