A Dead Heavy Day
posted on 10/2008 By:
Alright, this one's been simmering in the tank for a while. Letting A Dead Heavy Day fester and swell for a decent amount of time was an act of fairness, due to the fact that their previous album, Lust Stained Despair, took its sweet-ass time to grow into one of my favorite albums of 2006. Alas, no amount of patience or repeated listening managed to salvage this new offering of "gothic" hard rock from a sentence of eternal mediocrity. A Dead Heavy Day, quite unfortunately, is excrucatingly boring, maddeningly predictable, and poorly executed.
There's really only one reason why anyone has any interest in Poisonblack: The involvement of Sentenced's Ville Laihiala. Lust Stained Despair was a cathartic experience; Laihiala's vocal performance on that album served to assuage the fears of those that were dreading a Sentenced-free existence. His distinctive voice still delivered the goods, despite being backed by an outfit that was similar in style, but far less elegant. Their clumsy approach to songcraft, compounded with their lack of nuance, is simply glaring this time around. The tenacity and earnestness that glued the last album together is basically gone.
Big, dumb rockers like "Diane" and "Human-Compost" (which only contain a slight hint of Laihiala's grim wit) are crippled by lackluster guitar work and sub-par choruses. The mid-paced plod of "Bear The Cross" and "Me Myself and I" are total misfires into commericial territories - the lifted HIM harmonics and obvious ploys towards accessbility are cringe-worthy. "X" (a dull, clunky ballad) and the faceless, interchangeable final four tracks on the album are the final nails in Poisonblack's boring-ass coffin. Adding insult to injury, Laihiala delivers what is easily the worst vocal performance of his career. At times he sounds like a raspy, worn-out, Load-era Hetfield, and his trademark baritone just doesn't contain the fire that burned on records like Crimson and The Cold White Light. Sometimes he is simply a victim of lackluster material, but the fact remains - he's the album's main draw, and he doesn't deliver. There are six albums in the man's back catalog that are exponentially better on every level, which effectively trivializes this album's very existence.
While some may argue that it's unfair to compare this new venture to Sentenced, there's really no way to avoid it, especially when the stylistic parellel can be drawn so easily. But Poisonblack's take is far more commercial - a blatant reach towards some type of mainstream acceptance that assuredly will never come. Completely lacking the punch, immediacy, and character of the last record, A Dead Heavy Day triggers few emotions other than the desire to want to listen to someting else, giving The Thin Line Between a serious run for the title of 2008's biggest flop.
For the sake of brevity, let's just put it this way: Sentenced has never been deader.
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