Hemlock

Bleed the Dream

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    7
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After all these years, Las Vegas is a place that non-residents continue to associate with Wayne Newton, Robert Goulet, the Rat Pack, and showgirls. But in reality, Sin City has a variety of music that doesn't fit that traditional pop/show tunes stereotype -- everything from gangsta rap to emo to alternative country, in fact -- and no one will mistake Hemlock for a Dean Martin tribute band anytime soon. Bleed the Dream offers a quick dose of metalcore -- harsh, dense, skullcrushing metal/punk ferocity along the lines of Throwdown, Hatebreed, and Pro-Pain. This CD definitely goes for the jugular and does so without apology; that said, Bleed the Dream isn't just an exercise in sensory assault for the sake of sensory assault, and Hemlock has an infectious hookiness that sets them apart from a lot of metalcore bands. Vicious tracks like "Pipebomb," "Raze to the Ground," "Weakman Suicide," and "My Eyes Itch" have more going for them than brutality -- they have honest-to-God hooks -- and the fact that Bleed the Dream has as many memorable hooks as it does is one of the things that makes it worthwhile. Another positive is the fact that even though the lead singing is faithful to metalcore's tortured, screaming vocal style, the lyrics are generally easy to understand. Bleed the Dream is not groundbreaking -- Throwdown and Hatebreed have certainly traveled down this musical path -- but that doesn't erase the fact that these Las Vegas residents have made a solid and above average contribution to metalcore.

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