Death by Stereo

Into the Valley of the Death

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Death by Stereo's Into the Valley of Death picks up where 2002's Day of the Death left off. The band marries metal's neck-snapping, double-bass rhythms to the consciousness (or just plain anger) of punk and hardcore, pummeling themselves and the listener with serious intensity. Opener "The Plague" is as scary as its title. After a foreboding instrumental intro, the song explodes into lockstep hardcore behind the half-sung, half-screamed vocals of Efrem Schultz. Throughout the album, it's Schultz's over-sung, yet oddly convincing vocal presence that unites Death by Stereo's concurrent metal and punk rock influences. If the question of what Iron Maiden and Agnostic Front would sound like as one band was ever raised, this band answers it. But despite its aggressive sound, Death by Stereo has always peppered its albums with satirical humor. Into the Valley of Death continues this tradition, with songs like "I Wouldn't Piss in Your Ear if Your Brain Was on Fire," "Wake Up, You're Dead," and "You're a Bullshit Salesman With a Mouthful of Samples." Subtlety is definitely not in Death by Stereo's arsenal. And Into the Valley of Death's Molotov cocktail of high-speed metal riffing, anthemic call-and-response vocals, and toilet-bowl humor holds definite appeal for fans of SoCal punk, from the Descendents all the way through to Pennywise.

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