Review Summary: And the town gets some of its power back...
Billy Talent holds a special place in my heart being the probably the first band I ever discovered all by myself like a big boy. The energy and guitar play exhibited in their single “Try Honesty” immediately clicked with me and I promptly bought the self-titled and loved it, even more so now. The draw they had that kept me coming back to listen was their energy. It oozed from the self-titled in a way I had never heard before and seldom since to be honest. This energy level conveyed through the music dropped in each subsequent release with Billy Talent III being more of a free fall than a drop. Another three years and another Billy Talent release later and the band has found some of their old energy.
An interesting consequence one will notice when a band loses their youthful energy is they will attempt to substitute that loss for writing an abundance of up tempo catchy hooks and riffs. This can pan out not so well (eh hem Green Day mmm) but Billy Talent have always been excellent riff writers and that hasn’t changed with Dead Silence. Throughout 14 songs, their signature tone and catchiness is on showcase here. Nice chunky riffs and twinkly licks abound gaily in many of these songs injecting doses of their old energy into each one like Eve into a Big Daddy. Songs like “Surprise Surprise” and “Man Alive!” wouldn’t look too shabby with dance themed music videos but still retain the Billy Talent charm. The vocalist is also on point here as he hasn’t missed a beat since the band started, with the vocally driven track “Stand Up and Run” being the shining highlight on the album for him. The rest of the instruments are competent but display nothing to write home about.
These flickers of energy in combination with their knack of catchy songwriting are nothing if not good news for future releases from these guys. That being said there are of course some areas of concern with Dead Silence and they all revolve around this theme of energy. Billy Talent has the chops, the drive, and the spirit, they just seem tired. While they did indeed rekindle a bit of the flame with this release you can still feel the staleness in how some of the songs repeat over and over or how the vocal melodies also differ very little. Also at 14 songs at 53 minutes the album drags on a bit longer than expected. The good thing is all these issues are easily remedied with a little motivation. One thing about this band is for those who know them; their music is immediately recognizable, however that shows a lack of evolution. Whether or not that’s a good thing is completely subjective, but these are one of the few bands I don’t want to evolve.
Dead Silence has the gang returning to an earlier state. A lot of good things can be inferred here and while it seems they will never be able to top their self-titled opus, I hope these guys never change.