It Dies Today

The Caitiff Choir

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As told by abrasive opener "My Promise," it would appear that, unlike other wussy bands like Unearth and Killswitch Engage, It Dies Today doesn't waste precious time with silly frills like melody and traditional song structures. But then Mr. Prospective Single comes a-knocking in the shape of the cleverly titled but predictably sweetened "Severed Ties Yield Severed Heads" to prove such claims of inaccessibility were a tad premature after all. Sure enough, ensuing offerings such as "The Radiance," "A Threnody for Modern Romance," and the two-part title song prescribe much the same medicine as most contemporary American metal bands: a volatile cocktail of soul-searching lyrics, harmonically dense guitar riffs, and musical vocals, interchanged with equal measures of crushed larynx grunting, full-mosh outbursts, and, occasionally, a surprise passage. In terms of the latter, the first breaks down for a momentary slice of atmospheric near-silence, the second contains a spate of punk-like shout-outs, and the last pair spew out a mind-bogglingly verbose show of wordplay along with interesting use of backing synthesizer strains. As is often the case with metalcore acts, distinctively metallic influences such as flashy guitar playing and actual solos are the exception, not the rule, and often to be found buried deeper in the mix -- as if the members of It Dies Today are a little self-conscious of their respectability factor. Of course, the group is simultaneously reckless about its far more frequent lyrical transgressions, as if pretentious moralizing is defensible where pyrotechnic guitars are not. No matter, as the final balance here is of a solid if unspectacular album where the pieces -- impressively diverse though they might be -- never quite gel into truly unforgettable tunes. If nothing else, the band's ability and promise are without question, boding well for things to come.

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