Death Dealers

Written by: AP on 05/05/2011 00:32:04

In the aftermath of the success of their debut album, "Another Year of Disaster", Swedish metallic screamo act Adept had the privilege to tour extensively in both Europe and North America. Based on live experiences and, ultimately, judging from the contents of this sophomore effort, "Death Dealers", the band acquired a number of mementos on their travels; nuggets of inspiration from the contemporary metalcore outfits that dominate the US scene. The unfortunate outcome is that Adept have razed the screamo element to the ground and replaced it with a very American, very nondescript metalcore sound.

The high level of instrumental competency that Adept demonstrated on the debut album has been preserved, which is to say that the signature tapped leads and high-fret staccato riffs still form the core of the band's sound (see "This Could Be Home" for a good demonstration), but the dark side of the metalcore genre has begun creeping its way in, too. Perhaps the most apt example of Adept's updated style is "At World's End", which features just about every cliché imaginable, from a short introductory sweep to frequent monotonous chugging and, of course, countless dragging breakdowns. Much of the remaining album proceeds on a similar note, while instant catchers in the vein of "At Least Give Me My Dreams Back...", "Let's Celebrate Gorgeous..." and "Shark! Shark! Shark!" are nowhere to be heard. The closest Adept come to recalling the glorious sing-alongs that used to define their sound are the two minute incursions into a clean sung word or two in "If I'm a Failure, You're a Tragedy" and "The Ivory Tower", two of the absolute highlights of the album (trust me, you'll be grasping at straws in no time).

Indeed, signs that vocalist Robert Ljung laments his clean voice have been rife for some time, and "Death Dealers" hammers the final nail into the coffin. Another glimpse of hope comes, ironically, with "Hope", although the clean vocals heard in its chorus are the product of layered gang shouts courtesy of the rest of the band, rather than originating from Roger's voice box, and never manage to leave a lasting impression. The sad and inevitable truth is that Adept's songwriting has descended to the point where most songs sound like cheap gimmicks tailored specifically for the live setting; the decent closing trio, comprising "The Ivory Tower", "From the Depths of Hell" and "This Ends Tonight" repairs some of the damage, but without the impactful and unhinged desperation that made "Another Year of Disaster" such a thrilling listen.

"Death Dealers" is a competent, if generic, serving of modern stateside metalcore that offers no surprises other than the unexpected regression that the band has engaged. While by no means the bottom of the gutter, Adept have taken a definitive step backward; one which requires a significant amount of new thinking to recover. Fans of the old, frantic screamo style found on "The Rose Will Decay" and "Another Year of Disaster" are left sorely disappointed by what now sounds suspiciously populistic.

Download: If I'm a Failure, You're a Tragedy; The Ivory Tower, From the Depths of Hell
For the fans of: Asking Alexandria, Hopes Die Last, Motionless in White
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.03.2011
Panic & Action

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