Dead by April

Dead by April

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There's no point in beating around the bush: Dead by April's eponymous debut is just Sevendust metalcore mixed with the melodic death metal of Dark Tranquillity. The bandmembers might actually have different posters on their walls (say, Flaw and In Flames), but there's no arguing that the record is a straightforward mash-up of the two styles that stopped being exactly original long before 2009 (and the styles were blended early and often, too). So, zero points for originality, but that said, Dead by April's debut is a competent piece of work that delivers everything it's supposed to deliver -- i.e., a bunch of powerful catchy tunes that wrap the drama in layers of groove. It's easier to go for following Sevendust than actually pulling it off; Dead by April don't attain the same level of genuine simplicity, but they know how to rock hard. The singer has a clean and convincing (if typical) croon that goes well with the crunchy but melodic riffs punctuated by start-stop drumming -- a classic combo that works for that very reason, much like the 12-bar blues. The melodic death influence is responsible for some perfunctory growls and plenty of background synths that enhance the emotional effect, almost bringing the album into the realm of emo sometimes (think My Chemical Romance), but never stealing the spotlight. The record is unvaried but energetic throughout -- the boys remember the "rock first, angst later" golden rule, and because of that the music comes out unpretentious and catchy. The alternative metal field was oversaturated long before Dead by April came along, but it's still possible to do much worse than the band's debut.

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