Formed in 2018, Dystopia A.D. is a melodeath duo that incorporates dizzying prog into their combustible compositions. Their Designing Ruin debut introduced the versatility of Chris Whitby, who elevated his one-man project with contributions from a variety of skilled musicians. One of those allies was Aki Shishido, who has since joined the project as lead guitarist. Now the duo are releasing Rise of the Merciless, which amplifies their eclectic influences and indulges their boldest creative impulses. Rise of the Merciless was recorded both in NJ and at the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, where Shishido was deployed as a Major in the U.S. Army. The physical distance between collaborators dissipates due to the strength of the songwriting. Decibel Magazine has exclusive access to streaming the album ahead of its July 31st release.
“Red Sand” sweeps across the wasteland on a foreboding gust of wind and clean notes. But Shishido’s inventive solos swiftly emerge from the crimson dunes and sprint into the ominous maw of “Nomad.” Rise of the Merciless is an album of tonal and textural shifts. Blastbeasts fight shoulder to shoulder with sun-scorched melodies. Layered croons ascend skyward while Whitby’s growl anchors the album in the mud and blood. In the album’s wildest moments, saxophone and harmonized vocals creep from the shadows to blindside the listener in personal favorite track “Plaguebringers.” The Opethian title track boasts a variety of vocal approaches that exhibit Whitby’s range of snarls and anthemic wails. Down to the delicate piano of “Grave Pact,” the album balances red-hot aggression with melodic pursuits. By polishing the edges of their ambitious songwriting without sacrificing well-timed savagery, Dystopia A.D. have further advanced their artistry on Rise of the Merciless.
“There are some ambitious elements that you probably don’t expect to hear on a death metal album,” Whitby comments. “But everything works well together and sounds cohesive. Each song is an adventure for the listener as we explore the themes of the occult, suffering, and insanity.”
Stream Dystopia A.D.’s Rise of the Merciless below before the album’s release on July 31st. Interrupt your Sisyphean existence and press play NOW.
Pre-order Dystopia A.D.’s Rise of the Merciless on Bandcamp HERE
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