5 Billion Dead
Self Titled Demo
posted on 9/2004 By:
Reviewing submissions from unsigned bands always proves an intriguing proposition. You simply have no idea what you’re going to get. As one might expect, we get some really bad music (don’t get me wrong—we get a lot of Grade-A turds from labels too). Sometimes you find a rare band that seems to have everything together except for the recording deal, and it seems inevitable that this final piece of the puzzle will fall into place for them. Then there are those bands that are doing some things well, but show as much as anything else, the potential for great improvement and the success that could follow. Orlando’s 5 Billion Dead are a perfect example of such a band. One listen of their self titled four song EP makes it clear that this band could grow into something formidable.
5 Billion Dead’s booming bass and drum driven approach sounds a bit like Korn playing Pantera sized riffs. I know the Korn comparison won’t be well received by some readers, but I think the band takes one of the more positive traits of the nu metal titans and makes it their own. 5 Billion Dead is a four piece band that only uses one guitarist, and while he usually contributes to thunderous riffs by playing along with the bass lines, at times he also plays more of a support role by offering accompaniment to the rhythm section’s pounding. It’s a bit of a role reversal for the guitar and bass, and to borrow an example from another genre, it’s not totally unlike the approach that Primus has used to kick our asses for all these years. These guys ain’t Primus, Pantera, or Korn; in either sound or quality, but the comparisons should give you an idea of what this band is offering. The vocals are delivered in a mix of gutteral shouts and clean singing. The clean vocals would sound at home in any number of hard rock, metal, or even some heavier alternative bands. There are some nice dark harmonies at work and, overall, the use of clean vocals is one of the more satisfying parts of the songs. The harsh vocals are fairly mundane, and I’ve got a feeling that they are much more effective live and that if properly recorded would also see improvement. What makes these vocals a bit unique is that the lyrics are still entirely intelligible. This is a double edged sword. While the clarity is nice, it also puts the lyrics right up front. And some suck. Bad. Nearly all metal lyrics are embarrassingly bad (relax, I said almost!), but a few of these are what you’d expect from a bored, angry school kid.
“Hate the World” showcases all the previous descriptions—dumbass lyrics, booming grooves, and a nearly middle eastern sounding noodling guitar lines in the verse. “Buried in the Sand”, surely a favorite in the pits of Orlando clubs, is filled with plenty of punch and is heavy as hell.
5 Billion Dead have started well. With some perseverance and fine tuning, they could find quite a bit of success. To be clear, they have a very contemporary style that will be a turnoff for some underground metal fans, but they also have some elements that will appeal to other members of the same crowd. Coupled with a sound that could easily be marketed to the mainstream metal audience, this band may just yet get some label attention.
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