Release DetailsLABEL Lifeforce Records
RELEASED ON 8/8/2006
Death Before Disco
posted on 9/2006 By:
Man, this has gotta be the toughest assignment I’ve encountered since rejoining the MetalReview team a couple of months back. With so many bands in our "to do"pile that I’ve never heard of, sometimes you just have to take a chance and pick one. That was the case with this album, and my initial reaction was one of “Oops…what have I done to myself? How can I sneak this one back in without anyone noticing?”. But after sucking it up and giving the album the fair amount of listens it deserved before coming to any final conclusions, I’d have to say this has been a somewhat enjoyable yet extremely different experience for me. First things first, Belgium’s Death Before Disco has an especially strong emocore influence, and if that turns you off based on all of the hating the genre has endured during recent years, then you may just want to click your “back” button now and move on. But if you're sticking around then you should know that this band can’t be completely shunned off as complete emocore, as these very gifted musicians cover so much ground it’s almost impossible to slap any one label on them.
The vocals are very emo-clean for the most part containing many peaks and valleys of feeling and passion with backups all over the friggin’ place. Also mixed in are some typically angry hardcore grunts, and as standard as they are they bring the singing to a happy medium with a complimentary mixture of the two styles. Although this vocal style doesn’t fall in with what I generally prefer and admittedly made me cringe in the early going, they’re not totally terrible by any means and are fairly decent for what they are. The guitar sound isn't all that thick, but the arrangements cover anything from basic hardcore structuring to soothing acoustical beauty to melodic fretwork that leaves the listener very impressed with the talent churning them out. The twin guitars do a wonderful job of going off on their own doing something completely different from each other throughout much of the album, always a plus in my book. The rhythm section is pretty basic throughout the majority of the album and that’s alright, because in the end the strength of the band is in the guitars and in the vocals anyway.
The production is very raw and in the end captures the band’s sound perfectly displaying a very honest to goodness bare bones feel. The songs themselves go from an old-school hardcore sound at times on the cuts "Etireno" and "Modern Times", to an almost Kravitz-like rockin’ & rollin’ vibe during the songs "Full Metal Jacket" and "Pyramids on Mars". Experimentation with some jazz-like arrangements speckled with some peaceful strings and soft piano work comes to light on "Jaguar", "Goodbye" & "Barricades of Rumble", and is rather impressive musically. The breakdown moments are few and far between, but when they do come around they don’t appear as the least bit uninspired. It’s clear the band knew it was important to come up with something fresh with the almighty breakdown being so common these days, seeing many bands simply sharing the same unimaginative approach. Fresh or not, the ones on Barricades bring out some pit inducing chunk.
When all is said and done Death Before Disco could really care less which genre the listener puts them in, as that’s exactly the way they put it on their web site. They’re playing music they love and they’re pretty damn good at it. This really isn’t my cup of tea but I know there is a very accepting audience out there for music like this and I can assure those folks that this is a very well done, very well thought out album full of solid musicianship and well crafted songs.
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