Artist of the Week [3/8/13]: Dirge Within

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, thrash/groove metal act Dirge Within was formed in 2007 on the heels of co-founder Shaun Glass’ departure from hard rock band, SOiL, also from Chicago.  With a seemingly slow start on MySpace and elsewhere on the internet, Dirge Within have since built a growing fan base.

Originally called Dirge, the Chicago metal outfit added the word “within” to their title in 2008.  Opening for Trivium’s Fall 2009 North American headlining tour certainly put Dirge Within on the map.  They had previously performed at the Chicago date of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival as the Jagermeister opening band.

On September 1, 2009, Dirge Within released their debut full-length CD, Force Fed Lies.  After some touring and more studio time, the band offered a three song EP, titled Absolution, to tide fans over until the second full-length CD.  These three songs sounded like they could have been included on Force Fed Lies, which shows that the band had forged a signature sound on which they decided to rely.  Dirge Within’s sophomore effort, 2012’s There Will Be Blood, similarly followed that formula.

There Will Be Blood included the three Absolution EP songs in addition to brand new material.  These songs were equally as aggressive, heavy, and melodic as those on Force Fed Lies.

In late 2012, lead singer Jeremy “Jerms” Genske left Dirge Within due to personal reasons.  The band subsequently informed the World Wide Web that Divine Heresy vocalist Travis Neal would take over as Jerms’ replacement.  In early 2013, they released a re-recording of their song, “Without You,” with Neal on vocals as a free download.  They have since offered a teaser video of new material on their Facebook page.

Five noteworthy Dirge Within songs are “Complacency,” “New Disease,” “Forever the Martyr,” “For My Enemies,” and the Travis Neal version of “Without You.”  All of these tracks are unique for different reasons.  “Complacency” features guitar solos from Trivium’s Corey Beaulieu, Dope’s Virus, and Michael Angelo Batio.  The introduction to “New Disease” is pretty eerie with very skilled guitar work before the song breaks into the signature Dirge Within pummeling assault.  “Forever the Martyr” was originally written in 2007 for the band’s first demo, prior to public exposure.  “For My Enemies” was the first song released online for There Will Be Blood, not including the previously released Absolution songs.  Lastly, the re-recording of “Without You” with Neal on vocals is more aesthetically appealing than the original version due to Neal’s more melodic and diverse vocals. Neal can reach notes with which Genske seemed to fail.

Although Dirge Within seem to be in a promising place right now, Jerms will be missed after helping put forth two great full-length records and a couple EPs.

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