Million Dead
A Song to Ruin


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nick Greer EMERITUS
July 3rd, 2007 | 64 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: ATDI + BvS + NK + F = MD. Ya it's kinda like that.

I wrote a review for La Cosa Nostra's demos that sort of waxed poetic on the waves of bands that have been trying to carry on the legacy of At the Drive-In. If stopping that monologue at Million Dead, I'd come to the conclusion that when Million Dead broke up last year or so, that they were just another band that was lost in the long shadow of Cedric, Omar, Jim, Paul, and Tony. In reality they are band that has endowed the world of post-hardcore with some wonderful tracks and a pretty solid album in their debut LP A Song to Ruin.

Million Dead sounds like everybody and nobody at once. The At the Drive-In influence is heavier than my sedentary grandmother. It sits awkwardly if you're familiar with ATDI's music, however that in many ways is a great thing. It means Million Dead rocks out pretty hard and their energy feels youthful and fun. They also sound like Bear vs. Shark in that they're a little more stripped down and raw in their approach, favoring more analog sounds to the slightly overproduced sound of Relationship of Command. Other bands that seem to contribute to Million Dead's sound are No Knife, whose fun, original riffs seem to be found in every corner of every song on this album and Frodus, considering the tracks "Song to Ruin" and "Relentless" are the baby brothers of Frodus' "Out-Circuit the Ending," hopelessly aping their older brother's mature slowness and pensive tone. However as obvious as all of these influences may seem, Million Dead feels new and original. This is in part because of their tremendous energy, which could even reinvent Enya as punk motherfucker. Vocalist Frank Turner's vocals feel like an off-the-wall Jim Ward but with an untouchable element that makes it all his own. The trebly drums are one of a kind. The guitar and bass interplay in beautiful ways, producing grooves that have punk energy with a slightly tighter feel than that of most other similar bands. So, while Million Dead's influences are obvious in premise, when they're actually executing at 100% it's easy to forget ATDI et al and just enjoy the idiosyncratic flow of Song to Ruin.

These factors are only reinforced by the sweet song writing. A lot of credit goes to Turner, who may be the most charismatic lead man I've heard recently, up with the likes of Daryl Palumbo. No matter what the rest of the music is doing, Turner is emoting and wailing above the mix. His voice has a real yearning quality to it that greatly propels the urgency of the tracks. Sometimes he falls back into generic post-hardcore screaming, but usually his shout is wonderfully melodic and versatile while his singing voice is nicely abrasive and piercing. The other musicians aren't back either. They aren't as charismatic as the vocals and aren't as technical as some other musicians in similar bands, but these guys have a wonderful, tight interplay. As mentioned earlier a lot of the great grooves come from the interaction of the guitar and bass. The drums will often just resort to fun punk double-time drumming to keep up the pace, so the guitar has to syncopate and lock-in with the bass producing sweet counterrhythms from an unconventional instrument to be using such techniques. In general, I'm just a big fan of the songwriting. Tracks 2-4 and 6-7 are gems. The others are good too but the album hinges off the awesome moments that are littered throughout those songs.

So Million Dead can be a splash too obvious sometimes but more than make up for that with their energy, sweet lead vocals, and solid songwriting. If you're a fan of punk music at all just listen to the first 22 seconds of "Smiling at Strangers on Trains" and try not to enjoy it. That portion could sell this album alone. Oh ya the rest of that song slays to. Get on it.

Recommended Tracks: Smiling at Strangers on Trains*, I Am the Party*, Charlie and the Propaganda Machine, I Am the Party, MacGyver

* = Almost too good



Recent reviews by this author
Deftones Diamond EyesThrice Beggars
dredg The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusionmaudlin of the Well Part the Second
Mastodon Crack the SkyeTrophy Scars Bad Luck
user ratings (160)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
(4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
DFelon204409
Emeritus
July 3rd 2007


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks to pixies for hooking me up with this like 5 months ago.

Concubine
July 3rd 2007


333 Comments


ya this album is sweet. cool review.

i dont know if it's the production or not, but they have a very accessible sound to them, they don't sound 'punk' in the broadest sense.

Doppelganger
July 3rd 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm interested. I'll definitely be checking this out. Good review, too.

team7disorder
July 4th 2007


40 Comments


excellent review. i was lucky enough to catch them live a few times. so f'ucking good. the singer frank gave my mate a bedroom recording of a few songs he was working on. top bloke.

Justanothernimrod
July 4th 2007


478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

incredible album, one of the finest things to ever come out of British shores, truly amazing

ToWhatEnd
July 4th 2007


3172 Comments


I listened to I Am The Party and Smiling at Strangers on Trains and was absolutely blown away.

astrel
July 4th 2007


2614 Comments


This is pretty sweet shit. The drums are kinda boring though.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 4th 2007


16088 Comments


What I've heard from Million Dead was alright, I'll try and get this. Good review.

Confessed2005
July 4th 2007


3314 Comments


Cool band name. This looks quite interesting.

ATDI were fairly listenable are far as alternative bands go.

blackmilk
July 4th 2007


584 Comments


How many bands can you compare to At the Drive-In?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 4th 2007


16088 Comments


Every post-hardcore band to release an album after 2000.

blackmilk
July 4th 2007


584 Comments


Oh yeah, I forgot about that.

Neoteric
July 5th 2007


3243 Comments


This album rules. I find it´s an album you can listen to at any time.

team7disorder
July 5th 2007


40 Comments


the drummer was an animal live. he used to shout over his drums without a mic.

skingle
July 5th 2007


48 Comments


ah i cant find this anywhere. anyone know where i can get it from?

Neoteric
July 8th 2007


3243 Comments


internets

Doppelganger
July 24th 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally got this album, and it's pretty awesome. When the singer's not screaming, he reminds me of D. Boon.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2009


17213 Comments


A-May-Zing.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

Deathcar
December 2nd 2009


1534 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album/band is awesome. This is the better of their two releases, but they're both great. Saw them live and they were incredible as well. R.I.P

tombits
January 3rd 2010


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Smiling at Strangers on Trains" is unbelievably good.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy