Diecast

Internal Revolution

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Except for a temporary hiatus brought on by some major lineup changes, Diecast have been loyal, card-carrying, on time, dues-paying members of the "United New England Hardcore Metal Bands" union -- unlikely to be confused with the vast, recently franchised and still unproven masses crowding the factory floor, yet also still struggling to break out of the middle echelons to join union leaders like Killswitch Engage, Hatebreed, and Shadows Fall. Which is a goofy way of saying that, for the most part, 2006's Internal Revolution is a two-sided affair. On the one hand, it offers the same, expertly performed but done-to-death genre trademarks heard on the previous year's Tearing Down Your Blue Skies, and about a thousand contemporary hardcore metal albums. Just listen to production line items like the title cut "Never Forget," "S.O.S.," or "Definition of a Hero," which essentially offer dull attempts to contrast dark and light: jagged-edged riffs versus sparkling six-string harmonies, acid-chortling croaked vocals versus soaring melodic choruses, furious bursts of thrashing intensity versus dead-stop-start bouts of silence, Godzilla versus Mothra -- you get the drift. On the other hand, there are promising signs of Diecast's concerted bid for uniqueness and (gulp!) maturity. Despite their unimaginative one-word titles (how grunge of them!), both "Fractured" and "Weakness" are the first to threaten that much hoped-for break with convention: the former by establishing a catchy rhythmic chug (almost worthy of Pantera) to go with a convincingly mournful soft bridge section; the latter by opening with a nifty display of semi-black metal speed-picking before stumbling on all of the usual clich├ęs, only to be saved by a placid swirl of beautiful guitar notes (reminiscent of Testament's "Return to Serenity") that sends shivers up the spine. The sugary piano balladry of closer "The Coldest Rain," though likewise well-intentioned for attempting a novel approach, falls flat on its schmaltzy face, but with less shocking departures like "Hourglass," "Nothing I Could Say," and especially the standout "Fade Away," Diecast finally realize what wonders can be accomplished with less technical fireworks and a simply great chorus -- potentially seeing the light that will lead them forward. But, where Internal Revolution is concerned, that path remains at least partly covered in shadow, with flashes of brilliance piercing through.

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