It Dies Today

Sirens

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Like most young bands unsure as to whether they'll even have a second chance to record, It Dies Today seemed intent on cramming every one of their ideas and influences into their compositionally scattered 2004 debut album, Caitiff Choir, a nevertheless promising effort whose many loose ends simply required a little more maturation on the band's part to get tied together. That maturity was subsequently acquired over the course of grueling tours with veteran road warriors like Shadows Fall and Poison the Well, so that when It Dies Today were asked to begin work on album number two, the core songwriting duo of guitarist Mike Hatalak and vocalist Nick Brooks were truly ready to make the best of the opportunity. The resulting Sirens, despite flirting with discreet notions of Greek mythology on several tracks (much like its predecessor quietly alluded to Dante) is, in most every sense, a collection of sharp, focused, scrupulously assembled singles -- with very few loose ends, if any, to be found. And it doesn't get any better than opening track "A Constant Reminder": an irresistibly catchy, evenly balanced, three-and-half minutes of metalcore breakdowns and counterpoint riffs, post-emo melodies, and clean-sung choruses, which together constitute the sort of near-perfect single record labels love to bank their budgetary peace of mind on. Then, with that technical knock-out punch safely cocked and loaded, it's evidently a confident band who deliver nearly-as-impressive follow-up jabs like "The Bacchanal Affair" and "Black Bile, White Lies"; occasionally interspersed with unexpected hooks and uppercuts outside the safe commercial metal ring usually proves equally effective. These include the slightly more ambitious arrangements and twin-guitar harmonizing of the title track (very Killswitch Engage), the Pantera-like coda for "Through Leaves, Over Bridges," the Metallica-by-way-of-Trivium qualities of "Sixth of June," and the shamelessly At the Gates-ish (but still praiseworthy) "On the Road (To Damnation)." Groundbreaking invention will unfortunately have to wait until album number thee, but considering that inspired discipline (however safe) was It Dies Today's chief goal for album number two, that next step seems very much within their grasp.

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