Review Summary: Crime In Stereo Is (truly) Dead.
When the first release that your band puts out is a split with popular hardcore act Kill Your Idols, you know that what type of fan base you’re going to get right from the get go. Long Island melodic hardcore act Crime in Stereo were apparently not satisfied with the type of music they played, so after two full lengths and constant touring, they decided to go on a small break which almost led to the demise of the band as a whole. Jump forward to 07 and Crime in Stereo got back together and released their third full length under the Bride Nine record company, …Is Dead was put out for the masses. I really wished they would have been dead at that point.
…Is Dead is an all to appropriate name for this album. While the name itself is indicative of the near demise of Crime in Stereo, it also represents a death of the actual soul of the band and a separator between the band and its fan base. Originally known for playing and infectiously catchy type of hardcore reminiscent to legends like Lifetime and CIV, …Is Dead features a completely new type of music that will make one think ‘is this really the same Crime in Stereo as last year?’. Gone are the alternate d-beat styled drumming, gone are the near shouted vocals of Kristian Hallbert, and gone is the passion that was felt on their previous releases like Explosions and the Will To Use Them. In exchange for all the above, Crime in Stereo have opted for a sound similar to a more alternative music style that feels both forced and unoriginal. While the switch in sound and approach isn’t a necessary ‘bullet to the head’, it’s the lack of passion and conviction that fueled Crime in Stereos previous releases that makes …Is Dead such a shame of a record.
Crime in Stereo originally started as quite the politically charged band in their early years, and this led to fiery charged songs and gave the band an identity in the music scene. However, in …Is Dead, Crime in Stereo have foregone this passion in exchange for blandly placed quasi-existential lyricism that leaves the listener just a confused as they were when they heard the stark sonic differences felt on this release as compared to their previous ones. Vocalist Kristian Hallbert seems to get ahead of himself way too much on this record, as taken from ‘Third Atlantic’; “Bullet trains are bringing home the soldiers to find their families trampled with the weight of the fiber optics placed inside the soil samples.” What?
The sonic difference felt on …Is Dead is probably the most disappointing. As stated before, Crime in Stereo were comfortably fitted into the melodic hardcore genre, but on this record they start to sound like the wrong B-sides of Armor For Sleep and Taking Back Sunday. ‘Small Skeletal’ is a quiet track that features soft humming and singing mixed with quiet phaser-induced guitar work and leaves the listener scratching their head thinking ‘I swear I’ve heard that somewhere else’. ‘Unfortunate Tourists’ is more likened to that of Taking Back Sunday than anything else, the entire affair is laden with sub par drum work and minimal work in the guitar section.
Crime in Stereo Is Dead. Is says so right on the album cover and while they may have meant it to be a new beginning for them it unfortunately signaled the beginning of the end for them. What may have originally been planned as a show work for musicianship and singer-songwriting ability is actually an uninspired lazy attempt at alternative rock. While not the biggest fan boy of Taking Back Sunday or Armor For Sleep, I would highly recommend sticking with those bands then start listening to this album. A disappointment from start to finish.