Review Summary: The Dead and Dreaming is Dry Kill Logic jumping from their nu-metal roots to more of a metalcore sound, somewhat successfully.
Dry Kill Logic gained a bit of popularity during the early 2000s with their release The Darker Side of Nonsense
, which, while firmly rooted in nu-metal, showed a band with promise. However, Roadrunner Records wanted to capitalize on the radio readiness of more accessible bands in the genre, and attempted to force Dry Kill Logic towards a more commercial sound. Dry Kill Logic opposed this, and as a result, left Roadrunner. During the time after Darker Side of Nonsense
, Dry Kill Logic started falling away from nu-metal and into a more straightforward metal/metalcore direction. The result of this transition phase is The Dead and Dreaming
, an album that is not quite sure of which way to go.
The bands strengths are in its vocalist, Cliff Rigano, and its drummer, Phil Arcuri, who both keep this album from mediocrity. Cliff Rigano has an average harsh delivery, mostly staying in the mid-range and very comparable to the more hardcore deliveries of vocalists like Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed. However, his true strengths come out when singing, best shown on slower songs like “Neither Here Nor Missed” and the all acoustic “No Reason,” which is one of the absolute highlights of the album. On top of that, Phil Arcuri, while never really showing off, shows bits and pieces of true technicality and skill. One other thing that must be mentioned is that the bass is audible throughout most of the album, never being completely mixed out as is too often the case in metal recently.
The guitars, on the other hand, are nothing special and become repetitive as the album goes on. By the time you are halfway through the album, you can’t remember any standout riff. The production on the album doesn’t help, with the guitars sounding almost fuzzy so even if the guitarists were doing something interesting, you wouldn’t be able to tell. When you get to the second to last song, “200 Years,” it occurs to you that the opening riff is almost identical to that of “Paper Tiger.” Ironically, the most interesting guitarwork on the entire album comes from the aforementioned acoustic “No Reason,” in which the guitars capture the sad mood of the song perfectly.
The album is not without its share of highlights, however. “Paper Tiger” is thick and mean and the clean vocals in the chorus fit the song perfectly. “The Perfect Enemy” is a heavy song that boasts a short, yet entertaining guitar solo and more fantastic drum work by Phil Arcuri. Another thing this album makes you wish for is for Cliff Rigano to sing more. When it shows up it is excellent and so much more appealing than his one-dimensional harsh vocals. The songs themselves teeter on the edge of metalcore yet with nu-metal influences showing up every now and then with the occasional scratch in the background or the lyrics themselves, which occasionally fall into the typical adolescent hatred.
The Dead and Dreaming
finds Dry Kill Logic sitting at the crossroads. Do they go fully into the metalcore/NWOAHM category, forsaking their nu-metal origins completely, or do they fall back into the genre that has almost completely died off at this point. If you listen to their latest release Of Vengeance And Violence
, you will find out that Dry Kill Logic waves goodbye to their nu-metal roots and releases an exceptional metal album, and this album was the stepping stone for it. While being a solid release overall, The Dead and Dreaming
suffers from repetitiveness and a lack of true memorability.