EP REVIEW: Dealer – Saint

Release Date: February 14th 2020
Label: Stay Sick Recordings
Website: www.thedealersound.net
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thedealersound
Twitter: www.twitter.com/thedealersound

Rating:

On ‘Saint’, their second EP in less than a year, Australian pain peddlers Dealer continue their evolution into something truly monstrous.

Whereas last year’s ‘Soul Burn’ was a clear statement of intent and a powerful debut, ‘Saint’ is much more focused on atmosphere and texture. For every intense, cacophonous exchange, there’s a newfound sense of dark-ambient tinkering, recalling the more experimental tendencies of metalcore megastars Code Orange.

Each riff is nauseatingly low, harsh, and dissonant, yet nuanced enough to avoid meandering into chugfest territory. There’s a precision and restraint that coalesce into crushing sections, with enough breath between to truly absorb and appreciate the colossal weight of the guitar-work. The splicing of electronic segments also helps to imbue the tracks with a deeper sense of dread.

However, it’s frontman Aidan Holmes‘ performance which is at the heart of what makes Dealer stand out in a sea of stagnation and over-saturation. There’s a genuine, and almost alarming sense of aggression and malice in the vocal delivery and lyrical subject matter. Topics such as self-loathing and betrayal are nothing new, especially within the realms of metalcore, but Ellaz‘s frank, creative descriptions of pain and self-deprecative despair, are startling.

With closing track ‘Suffer In Rhythm’ sporting a tasteful clean vocal section to wind down the momentum, the diversity, ingenuity, and passion which Dealer display needs to be acknowledged. Utilising brevity and expanding their sonic palette, there’s a clear progression and sharpening of focus, which can only mean countless wonders for their inevitable full-length.