The Walking Wounded

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Following the tragic van accident that took the life of drummer John "Beatz" Holohan in 2005, it was easy to assume that Bayside's third album would be something of a somber affair. But instead of dwelling on the past, The Walking Wounded shows Bayside clearly focusing on moving forward. For a group who revel in moody and dark emo, this record is actually their brightest set of songs yet -- they seem more resilient, and these general feelings of survival permeate the entire record, so that a sentiment like "Some say it's all fate, but I say we control our lives and if my destiny should out best me, then that's fine" (from the charging "Duality") very well represents their collective mindset. There's a real emphasis on Jack O'Shea's adept guitar throughout, but even when his lines get the spotlight, there's no denying how strong and developed as a unit Bayside sounds. This is highlighted quickly when the opening whimsy of the excellent title cut gives way to muscular rhythms that complement the hardened edge in Anthony Ranieri's voice; I Am the Avalanche's Vinnie Caruana caps the song off superbly with a guest spot. As with many bands, scene frustrations surface as well. The jangling guitars of "(Pop)ular Science" set a mood opposite to lyrics like "I thought I was a part of something more, but more money, less substance, more demand....trending what we fought to make ours." "I and I" and "Head on a Plate" earnestly and defiantly seek to lead a musical change among the kids, the latter with a nice melody wavering somewhere between Alkaline Trio and Motion City Soundtrack. Bayside have been flying under the radar for the last few years, especially as compared to many of their Victory peers. But they look to be in it for the long haul and definitely have the chops to make a lasting mark. Even though this album may not provide that extra push into the public eye, fans will have a hard time denying how great Bayside sounds.

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