Dead By April

Dead By April

Written by: PP on 13/06/2009 19:26:35

Sweden's Dead By April's self-titled debut album consists almost entirely of remastered demos that the band has been putting out since 2007 plus a few new tracks to make it worthwhile for older fans as well. On some level you could call that a cash-in, but since very few people are familiar with their old demos including the undersigned, I'm gonna go and OK the approach in this case. So who is this newly signed Universal Music outfit? On their Myspace page, they've previously described themselves as 'pop metal explosion', which really comes quite close to what Dead By April is all about. They sound exceptionally trendy, except that there aren't really other melodeath bands around with emo vocals. And no, this isn't metalcore, because there isn't enough screaming and the guitars aren't raping the Gothenburg scales. They are just overly melodic, period. What I'm trying to get across here is that Dead By April sound like they're part of a new trend which just hasn't started yet - but considering how their debut single "Losing You" actually made #1 on the Swedish singles chart, I have a feeling these guys will make it pretty far. Listen on the player below and you'll see what I mean.

Essentially, Dead By April play melodic death metal fused with emo and pop, which roughly translates to soaring pop melodies, emo-ish clean vocals, some dramatic keyboards and insanely catchy choruses. Clean vocals have been shamelessly perfected using auto-tune, but it's not like the band are trying to hide the fact because they often jump directly into electronic realm a la Attack! Attack! for brief moments. Many of these high-pitch, perfectly sung clean vocals sound a bit like Elliot Minor, though especially on "Sorry For Everything" where the chorus sounds like it could've been lifted from their self-titled record. The harsh vocals give the record it's 'soft' melodeath label: they vary between high-pitch metalcore shrieks and melodic growls in the vein of Enter My Silence. If it weren't for the clean vocals, "Stronger" could actually be a song by that band, and if you don't know their absolutely brilliant record, now is good time to check it out.

There are more highlights on the record that I care to mention here, but lets just have a few for you to check out. The album opener "Trapped" is one of my favorites because of it's electric keyboard and the breakdown that morphs directly into pop rock territory moments later. I guess you can't really call that song melodeath as such, but that's where a song like "Angels Of Clarity" comes into play with its aggressive riffing and harsh growls, though the keyboard provides a nice pop element here too. The chorus is monster catchy, but I have a feeling that the high-pitch emo vocals will scare most metalheads away from the get go. After all, having clean vocals in the first place is unusual in the genre, and given how poppy these guys deliver them, there's just no way that a scribe like EW would ever like these guys. Then there's "Stronger" which combines the trendy keyboards of "Trapped" with the aggressiveness of "Angels Of Clarity", so that belongs to my favorites list from this record as well. But really, if you're at all into ridiculously catchy choruses that'll stick to your mind, any track from the record will do.

That's effectively also the album's biggest problem. Yeah, these guys know how to write songs that catch you instantly, but there are many places where these guys merely sound like a heavier version of Linkin Park's "Meteora" or something. That there's a clean chorus in every song starts to piss you off by the end, and you're left hoping that the band would include some of the In Flames styled melodic growling on some of the choruses instead. But that's clearly not the point of this band, as everything from their name and lyrics to their Myspace description screams pop loudly. They aren't interested in necessitating your thirst for artistic completeness rather than feeding you more heavy pop melodies than you can stomach. While they obviously utterly fail at the first, they are extremely successful in the second.


Download: Trapped, Angels Of Clarity, Stronger
For the fans of: Sonic Syndicate, Elliot Minor, Bullet For My Valentine, Linkin Park, Enter My Silence
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.05.2009
Universal Music

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