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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: Dead Poetic
Label: Solid State
Length: 10 tracks/38:21 minutes
Every band would like to imagine that they sport an entirely original sound, but know that (in reality) they peddle songs that are slightly modified composites of their influences. Nowhere is this more apparent than on Dead Poetic's debut, where the overall sound initially seems quite unique sensitive emo meets angst-driven metalcore but, when broken down, is a simple enmeshing of The Juliana Theory and Zao, with the closest comparison being Poison the Well.
Most crucially, however, it is a successful enmeshing that oozes self-confidence. Solidity is the defining feature of this album: solid melodies, tight rhythmic backing and strong and consistent vocals, which vary in scope from the weedy milksop who can t hold down a girlfriend to the tormented, roaring mountain man (also single and loathing it).
In truth, there is not much to separate one song from the next. Clean melody followed by a hardcore breakdown, or vice-versa, with an occasional section of punk snotiness, is the formula employed throughout the album. The interplay of styles is forfeited only on "Bliss Leaving Eyes" (a title that screams EMO), a fragile acoustic tune that incorporates some sub boy-band harmonies (a la The Juliana Theory) into a mournful refrain of:
Play it one more time for meOther bands have better melodies, and others deliver more convincing hardcore, but this record is neither. The sum is truly greater than its parts, which are, if taken individually, palatable but somewhat superfluous. In a market currently hungry for the marriage of heavier sounds with pop sensibilities, this could well be poised for success. With this record Dead Poetic is on the runway. Another one or two till takeoff.
Shelby Foster 5/19/2002
The creation of original sounding music must be quite a formidable task these days. With the thousands of bands and artists that have gutted the market, carving a niche outside of the ordinary is becoming more and more difficult. Thus, it should not come as a surprise that virtually every new Tooth & Nail band that has come along in recent days has bore some kind of striking resemblance to veteran (or even retired) label mates. Dead Poetic is certainly no different.
When I first put Four Wall Blackmail into my CD player, the music caught my attention very quickly. It was tight and hard and easy to get into. As the first song "Burgundy" progressed, Dead Poetic threw in some screams and I knew that this was to be another of those rock/emo/metal hybrids. This is definitely not a bad thing, however. With Four Wall Blackmail, Dead Poetic has established themselves as a band with talent worth listening to. The hang up that I find with the band is that I can find virtually the exact same kind of music on my beloved Embodyment CD The Narrow Scope of Things, and find it done in an even more appealing way. Living up to the level of Embodyment is a difficult task for any rookie band in my mind.
As the record progresses, the music tends to lean more toward the metal side of things than its other facets, though singing permeates virtually every song on the album. My favorite lyrical approach comes on the song "Ollie Otson" with the vocalist yelling to a relatively heavy song that I find myself wanting to listen to repeatedly. There are upsides and downsides to this album. Listeners of Embodyment, Zao, and possibly even Living Sacrifice, and The Juliana Theory, should enjoy Four Wall Blackmail. For those who don't like those bands or haven't heard of them, steer clear of Dead Poetic as well. This is a reasonably good album and shows some potential for the future. Perhaps next time Dead Poetic can blaze a path that Embodyment has not yet trod.
Trae Cadenhead 5/31/2002