Review Summary: These young upstarts are working hard but still have some mistakes to iron out.
Dead By Wednesday – The Killing Project
It’s always a hard task to review up and coming bands. On the one hand, you don’t want to quench somebody’s dreams of becoming a big star: people have some fragile souls. On the other hand, objectivity and principles force you to really say what you mean: if a band really sucks, then as a reviewer, you ought to be saying it. And then if the band is actually good, you don’t want to praise them too much before they get completely ahead of themselves. And lastly there is so much inexperience involved with these bands that you are picking out flaws that these bands certainly will iron out after a while. It is that which makes the decision of how to rate a review so hard.
Connecticut metallers Dead By Wednesday are a band that fit into that exact category. Not very hard to describe, but very hard to actually rate, considering they are so young and have prospects of changing these youthful mistakes into something good. It feels as if these guys have a perspective on getting better, and it’s shown very well on their sophomore release The Killing Project: these guys play some sort of thrash metal crossover with hardcore punk (but thankfully managing to mostly avoid the metalcore clichés of pig squeals and chug riffs), instead sort of sounding how Suicidal Tendencies would if they had they changed the funk into more of a punk influence, with added screams.
But the problem is, though they do play something that is actually good on paper, they kind of lack the actual experience to pull it off with the style of their older peers. Many riffs will pop up that sound interesting, but then you realise it’s close to something Slayer would write (Society’s Blood) circa Seasons in the Abyss, or Pantera (Part of Me). And to be honest, what these guys write isn’t bad, but it’s still not “Raining Blood” level. These guys are trying hard, but they are only striking silver instead of gold, and I’m hoping these lads have the ambition to try to shoot for gold again on the next record, because it needs just a bit more spice to be really interesting outside of the niche.
Another thing to take issue with is the political posturing of the band. The press release reads lines such as: “We’re not here to preach, we just want to get people to think for themselves, to question what they’re being told by CNN, FOX NEWS and other big media. They need to stop accepting everything they’re fed by Big Business as the truth, and do some serious research on their own to get the real story. If the songs we’ve written on The Killing Project can get people thinking for themselves, and to unite against the establishment, then we have succeeded.” There is some inherent hypocrisy in this message (we don’t want to preach, but you should do this and that?), and of course the antiestablishmentarianistic stance of that passage is a bit too hard to take seriously. We appreciate the enthusiasm, guys, but this really isn’t the stuff I want to hear from a band. That said, lyrics tackling the 1973 Chilean coup of Pinochet definitely does show this band has some historical conscience: if they could expand on those kind of topics, the lyrics would probably yield far better results.
However, when they do get it right, there are some excellent results. “Violent Tradition” features some wonderful Cyco Miko inspired verses (“my God is not your God/ my God is invisible!). It is reminiscent of Institutionalized-era Suicidal Tendencies at its best. Chosen is a structural In Flames homage with the yelled verses and the clean chorus, but the vocal melody actually works. And “Declaration of Inhumanity” seems to take its lyrical cues straight from something Serj Tankian would pen, but the music just feels powerful alongside it.
In the end, these guys are competent; they also deserve props for taking hardcore and thrash influences and not ending up with the sound of another As I Lay Dying clone. But these guys should not be content with a mere “competent” rating; they need to up their game for the next record. There are so many clone bands out there, and the last thing metal needs is bands with original ideas that end up swimming as just another fish in the big school of mediocrity. For now, they can be given the benefit of the doubt. But the next record definitely could do with some improvement, and let’s hope these guys have the ambition to realise that.
unsuccessful coup d'états out of 10.