One of heavy metal’s biggest strengths has always been the sonic breadth of what the genre is capable of. From the blues to hip-hop, goth to industrial, metal has always managed to borrow from as many styles as possible while still remaining true to the roots of the genre.
LA’s Death Dealer Union are a great example of a new band unafraid to put as many things into the melting pot as possible. Founding in 2019 by drummer CC McKenna, alongside guitarist Doug Weiand and bassist Jonny Heinz, the band had been crafting their own unique mix of classic power metal with more modern, state-of-the-art production before meeting the essential element to the band: vocalist Lena Scissorhands.
Death Dealer Union had already auditioned a variety of singers to front the band, but it wasn’t until Scissorhands arrived that the chemistry matched the ambition, and Lena agreed to begin a collaboration with DDU. Lena herself has a history of lending her voice to a variety of projects as a solo artist and as a member of Infected Rain, so was able to fit in with Death Dealer Union seamlessly. And with Lena such a perfect component for the band, she has recently been confirmed as a full-time member.
The band’s first single, Borderlines, from earlier this year saw, saw plenty of people sit up and take notice, and now you can hear the second result from the fruits of their labour with the brand-new single Beneath the Surface, a song that showcases all of the strengths and potential of this union in a mere four and a half minutes.
We get an anthemic, bombastic chorus in the vein of Nightwish or Within Temptation, a staccato, downtuned lead guitar riff that recalls Breaking Benjamin, some delicately picked proggy guitar parts that see a slight Tool influence and, most notably, a brutal, throat-ripping performance from Lena over punishing double kick drums as the song climaxes. Progressive, eclectic, surprising, cohesive and memorable from the very first listen, Beneath the Surface is the kind of song that will delight anyone with even a passing interest in any of the many strands of heavy music.
If that wasn’t enough to tempt you into checking the band out, the video for the song also deserves a mention, with Lena delivering her vocals either sitting on a throne or standing on a pentagram in what looks like a very fiery, very metal vision of hell, as the rest of Death Dealer Union attack their instruments around her. It’s proof that this is a group of artists that agonise over every element of their craft, not just the music, but the visuals and imagery as well.
If you wish to hear more then you’ll have to be patient for whatever comes next, but for now you can keep an eye on Death Dealer Union at deathdealerunion.com, and follow them every move on social media (Facebook.com/deathdealerunion and @deathdealerunion on Instagram). Who knows what will come next for the band, but, whatever direction they decide to head in, prepare to be blown away.