Classic Case

Losing at Life

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Classic Case is one of the more successful examples of a recently emerged type: the band that arises from the scrappy emo-metal-hardcore scene with a genuine ability to forge hooks out of metal, and to harmonize. Combine that skill with powerful but nimble vocals and a killer guitar sound, and you have the makings of a great post-indie rock band. Add a producer who also plays guitar for Helmet, and you've got the final ingredient for a great album. Losing at Life isn't exactly all hits and no misses -- several songs sprawl in an unwieldy way, and singer Jared Draughon needs to grow beyond the lyrically lazy hardcore habit of referring to an undefined "this" in his songs ("Distract everyone and they won't get to the bottom of this," etc.). But the blend of strings and molten riffage on "Fatal Phrase" is handled beautifully, as is the combination of two-fisted guitar and soaring, atmospheric vocals on "Into a Nightmare." Classic Case also boasts the unusual ability to wield complex time signatures without sounding like show-offs (check out the impressive "Scott Free") and to blast off into full-on heavy metal territory without sounding stupid ("Devil's Advocate"). There's plenty right with this album, and nothing wrong that time and experience won't cure. Recommended.

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