Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dead Letter Circus "The Catalyst Fire"

This is the Australian band's  second full length album after their debut ep in 2007. It doesn't take along after the initial riff to "The Cure" to realize that this album is going to be  waaay too happy. I can appreciate more when 30 Seconds to Mars does this sort of thing as there is some kind of darkness there, but this just sounds like a harder version of Mute Math most of the time. This conclusion was not drawn before I gave the album a solid listen after down loading it for my girl friend. I had only heard the band once before and though they were refined A Perfect Circle rip offs but worth giving a solid shot in the dark and I think I need to download that new Gorguts to redeem myself.

"Alone Awake" proves a few things, this album is well recorded big and clean like a Def Leppard album. The execution is pretty flawless as well, their wrists are too for them  muster enough testosterone to cross over into actual metal. Sure they lean towards Muse 's zip code when it comes to pacing though much less grandiose. A Perfect Circle helped solidify a space for this sort of middle of road melodic hard rock but with  A Perfect Circle who knew they were capable of being heavy they were just choosing to be more introspective. To give credit where credit is do the guitars do go into some interesting places, they just can't stomp into the build ups with any authority.  

The vocals are only making the situation worse as he flutters around his falsetto but he never commits to a full fledged balls out yodel, where you would think he foot was up on the monitor. I need some balls, Maynard has them , hell even that pansy Jared Leto is a good enough of an actor to portray a rock star enough to sell me on it and knowns how to add some angst to it melodies. You can argue stylistically the singers deliver here is a matter of choice , but that choice belong making Christian rock records. 

The vocal mix is as over the top as every thing else on "Burning Man" which sounds as if pro tools is aiding the  more progressive elements. This mix compresses the rock right out of it as well, making it sound very sterile and hard to believe there is any anger behind the distortion. The nelly rock god vocal line that raises its lighters on this one, lets the purse fall right out of his mouth and negates me taking the cool drumming on the second half break down seriously.

"Lodestar" offers a little punch under the layers of sparkling delayed guitar that sounds like the cyber love child of U2 and White Lion aiming for a slot opening for Linkin Park. What this guy hears as his urgent pleading, I hear as some one who masturbated to Jared Leto's Teen Beat pictures, though this melody has more to it and doesn't swing for the fences in such a contrived way. But once again when the bass comes in and tries to be mean, I'm not buying it, even though his voice is more masculine than say Circa Surive , their music came across as darker.

"Say Your Prayers" falls under the same poppy post-nu-metal cock rock. Now I can't get Mike Tramp out of my head when I hear this guy and these guys guys are to 30 Seconds to Mars  what White Lion was to Van Halen I suppose     

The electronics on "The Veil" help give them more of an identity rather than being such a sum of their influences. The very 30's feel to "Lost Without Leaders" doesn't really help it stand out from the other when they default into the anthem of a chorus. The drum and guitar play is intricate but doesn't hold a candle to something like Cynic.

They pace picks up on "Stand Apart" , this is the band doing thir best to really rock out and it's better than being a Shinedown clone they just can't shred the pristine pretty boy sound and  by this point the singers vocal phrasing has begun to annoy the hell out of me

It when they slow things down to a few heart beats above a Perfect Circle power ballad that make their sound work and finding a more convincing groove for their tender little souls.  Overall if you are teenage girl you will think this is some pretty progressive shit, since you already think Tool is classic rock your dad listens to. They pull off what they do but are deluded to think they are anything close to metal so I'll give this one a 5 . 


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