Review Summary: Great ideas weighed down by repetitive breakdowns.
The current wave of metalcore is really being beaten into a pulp. I’m sure everyone here has heard their fair share of chug-a-chug breakdowns in recent years and probably enough to last for a lifetime. And yet the current wave of metal rages on and honestly it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. Dead Man in Reno is right in the middle of this, but seems to be showing some definite potential and impresses me more than most of their peers.
The band’s self titled debut is definitely worthy of a few genre arguments. There’s metalcore throughout, but I can definitely see elements of melodic death metal and post-hardcore being thrown in on multiple occasions. I couldn’t help but think of Dark Tranquillity’s Fiction when I heard some of the riffs, and not a second later a breakdown will be thrown at you in the same vein as a band like The Bled. Such is the way with metalcore, but the riffs are definitely the stronger point on the album. The best combination of the two is probably the end of “From Here I Can See the Shore” in which an incredibly beautiful guitar lead is placed over the bands typical down-tuned brutality. They really got it right on that song.
Dead Man in Reno really is onto something here. The intro to the album “To Attain Everything” clearly shows that the band’s guitarists are certainly competent and can play some impressive and catchy leads. The clean breaks in “Given a Season of Sun”, “Goodbye Tomorrow, Hello Dead Letters” and the band’s longest song “Cursed” are certainly a breath of fresh air and are among the strongest parts in the album. The clean vocals in “Cursed” are also surprisingly good and much better than most other bands in the genre. Each band member is on top of their game skill-wise.
It just always seems to go back to those breakdowns, doesn’t it? It’s certainly something you can’t ignore on this album because there’s just so many of them. A well timed breakdown can really make a song so much stronger and really showcase the band’s aggression and overall message. This, sadly, isn’t the case with this album. Don’t get me wrong, some of the breaks in here are pretty awesome and are necessary to the song, but plenty of them strike me as annoying filler. It’s just a gap between riffs at certain points and they don’t seem to take the song anywhere. Dead Man in Reno certainly beat a dead horse on here, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for writing so many other pleasing parts.
Dead Man in Reno surprised the hell out of me with this album. I went in expecting another As I Lay Dying clone and got so much more. The album contains so much more…from swift melo-death riffs to ear catching acoustic sections to soaring clean vocals to brutal screams. There’s something in here for almost everyone if you’re willing to hear a drop-b tuned guitar have a chug-fest that would put Unearth to shame.
Thor’s Top 3:
From Here I Can See the Shore
Even In My Dreams
Final Rating: 3.3/5