Review Summary: dissonance without failure
It seems to go in this day and age that every band that has really accomplished something is lost in the endless trail of time, forgotten to most and remembered only by those whose wisdom is never heeded. In this unforgivable case, it happens to be one of the progenitors of the much maligned, scorned and despised yet somehow not ignored genre metalcore. Anyone who has ever mattered in metalcore owes at least a part of their sound to Deadguy, the seminal hardcore/metalcore outfit born as though a phoenix from the ashes of equally seminal hardcore/metalcore band Rorschach. Fixation on a Coworker was their first release and set the stage for countless bands to come, most notably Botch.
Focusing on dissonance, emotion and effect, Deadguy do not have time for ridiculously pansy melodic bridges with frustratingly badly sung choruses and derivative, contrived and cliché lyrics. As soon as the album kicks in, the band wastes no name choke holding you and slamming your face into a wall of squealing guitars, intense vocals and punishing drum patterns. Focusing instead on constructing an absolutely unrelentingly intense atmosphere, the band uses precision drumming, abnormal time-signatures and uncannily melodic-yet-not guitar playing to give off the impression that they are really, really pissed off. This is conveyed no better than by their vocalist, who manages to sound similar to all the talentless posers who would come after him and yet completely different, radiating tense anger and spewing forth vitriolic anthems of unrest. Even during excellently placed and presented spoken word passages, the unwaveringly presence of discontent is felt. Of extremely worthy note is their ability to write breakdowns unimaginably better than 99% of that womanly crap they call a breakdown today. No unnecessary “juns”, no cringe-worthy “chugga-chugga-brees” and especially not any of those tragically annoying “gang shouts”. Background vocals are restricted to verses and spoken-word passages where they are used to great atmospheric effect; the breakdowns, which are occasional, are used as aspects of the songs, not the main event, per se.
The album is, without overstating its merits, one of the best amalgamations of hardcore and metal that has and ever will be arranged. Where some bands inevitably fail is leaning too far to either side of their respective genres, either being too focused on the metal side or vice versa. Very few bands have been able to achieve what Deadguy pulled off on this release: a seamless combination of two very different genres. This brings up a decisively interesting notion: no matter how well done the genre is, it will invariably and inexorably still sound bland. Even with crushing brutality and resolute fervor, the genre just can’t quite be better than above average.
Deciding that not sounding angry was for nancy-boys, Deadguy crafted 30 minutes of unbridled, unrestricted anger, tied up in one of the most wonderful metalcore packages you are bound to ever hear. With flawless production, unrivaled balance and terrific composition, Deadguy will not only end you, they will do it with a smile on their faces. One must wonder if the progenitors of such a lost genre regret starting what they did; my money is on apathy. When you take a look at the bands that riddle our airwaves today, bands such as Norma Jean, The Devil Wear Prada, Suicide Silence and others, you can’t blame them; metalcore nowadays is the drunk girl at a party: incessantly loud and obnoxious, overbearing, and not fun to be around.