Review Summary: Killing The Dream have gone soft.
The Deathwish roster demands respect. Just a simple quick scan of all the hardcore acts signed to Bannons label should be enough for listeners to know that the label is a juggernaut of both excellent bands and masterpiece albums. Trap Them, Blacklisted, and Coliseum are just some of the bands that call Deathwish home so with such high profile bands under its banner, it only seems natural that Killing the Dreams releases be held up to a standard higher than most other hardcore bands in today’s scene. Previous albums like In Place, Apart and Fractures were both albums that withstood the scrutiny of their labelmates and helped establish a devout following. Carved in their sound of aggressive, emotional, and in-your-face hardcore punk, Killing the Dream decide to spice up their sound in their third full length, Lucky Me, that acts as a blindside tackle to expectations and leaves the fans more puzzled than satisfied in the end.
Historically speaking, Lucky Me follows a path that most bands take on their third full length. Having already secured a proper niche in their respective genre, the third full length is usually the point where a band delves into extremes: either going for a darker, ‘heavier’ sound or progressing softer and melodic. Killing the Dream has selected the latter. But this approach winds up choking their aspirations and potential. First song ‘Blame the Architects
’ starts off strong, if a bit basic, featuring a stellar performance from the vocal department that is carried on throughout the entire album and a leading guitar riff with buildup drum work, but the entire song is murdered by an overextended clean interlude that acts as both a muffler to the bands aggressiveness felt on previous releases and just overly awkward.
This basically sets the tone to every song off Lucky Me, as each song tends to be both overstretched and a chore to listen to. From first glance, one who would be familiar with Killing the Dream would wonder what the use is in releasing an album with only seven songs and not not labeling it as an extended play, but this is actually acceptable as each song averages around the two and a half to three minute marker, clocking in at around a twenty to twenty five minute album length. With this basic song length now utilized on Lucky Me, this causes Killing the Dream to adopt a more melodic, clean passage driven album which looks good on paper, but when fully realized, ends up overdrawn. 'Testimony
' is a perfect example that technically looks stellar as an idea, featuring guest vocals by ex-Dance Gavin Dance vocalist Kurt Travis, but when actually heard turns into a grating, awkward, and complete downer experience. Lucky Me follows all the standard melodic hardcore tendencies that Killing the Dream have never really fully recognized with in their past.
Musically, Killing the Dream have tried taking a step into natural progression but end up misfiring. Lucky Me offers seven sub-par songs that fail to latch onto your soul like Fractures did, and will quickly be tossed aside for better releases found on the Deathwish roster. While not an entire failure of an album, Killing The Dream have missed the mark on this project and should either try again in the future or just simply stick to what they know and do best, that being aggressively powerful hardcore. A strong vocal performance can’t quite make up for the lack in instrumentation and the great Bannon artwork can’t cover up the many faults found on Lucky Me.