Review Summary: "I'm afraid I won't see better days."
Get Scared is among the first bands I was drawn to during high school when I was first getting into metal and heavy music in general. It was music like theirs that led me to attending 5 Warped Tours and this vast ocean of music I've fallen in love with since. So, I owe them a lot and it makes it all the more tragic to see the turmoil they've fought through over the past few years. As of this writing, lead singer Nick Matthews has yet to drop a promised explanation as to whether he's actually out of the band and if the band itself will even go on. The Dead Days
has been completed and delayed for some time, as Nick Matthew's recovery from a heroin addiction has left the rest of the band uncomfortable around him. Not only has this stalled touring or any activity from the group, but left their entire future up in the air. This may very well be the end of Get Scared, and if it is, what a way to go out.
The Dead Days
is a particularly dark and somber incarnation of the bitter, angsty Get Scared that put out some of the genre's best work this decade. The theatrics of Everyone's Out to Get Me
and the brooding tension of Demons
is all still here, but it finds Nick Matthews and crew at the pinnacle of their talents and perhaps at the height of their dance with the devil. Led by Johnny Braddock on lead guitar, the instrumental work is heavy and ripe with inertia in an age where core groups are more concerned with bells and whistles to sell a few more copies; interestingly enough, Nick Matthews has stated on Instagram that he's unsure if this album will even see a physical release. The vocals and lyrical content are especially emotive, coming to light in a barrage of conflict I doubt I've ever seen in modern heavy metal.
Album opener "Bad Things" is just mesmerizing
. Nick Matthews lets it all hang out to dry. He certainly lets you know that he's lonely and misunderstood, but also self-aware, recognizing the danger
he and his vices might carry behind them. Given the tumultuous fallout with the band in recent months, it makes the lyrics all the more cryptic. "Bury me in misery and pain. I'm afraid I won't see better days. Wide awake, they don't know how I feel," he cries out. For a song this dark, it's awfully infectious in its singalong value, and the ear-worminess almost seems emblematic of how Nick's viewing things internally. He knows he needs to dig himself out of the hole, but he appears to morbidly enjoy it at the same time.
"Deceiver" follows the same mold in terms of the catchier composition. If you're not invested in what Nick has to say, the song serves quite well as a chance to just jam out. "So now I'm over you," Nick plainly exclaims backed by some rollicking hard rock energy in contrast to some of this album's heavier, breakneck moments. "Hell Is Where The Heart Is" sees Nick letting his tortured soul out in open once more, but perhaps he's crying out for help. "I'm burning out the light that's in my soul," he warns. As the song progresses, the lyrics become less cryptic and it becomes known to the listener that Nick might be closer to his breaking point than he may have previously hinted. "Now I'm at the end of my rope," he sings. If you are
, in fact, hanging on to every word, this is one of many moments on The Dead Days
that will hit you in the gut.
"Give Up My Ghost" offers what might be the smallest sliver
of sunlight found on this entire project. "I don't wanna go this alone," Matthews pleas, backed by some great drumming from Dan Juarez. It's certainly slim pickens on that front; "Like It Or Not" sees Nick thank some nameless muse for being there for him through the bad times, but perhaps he's expressing thankfulness for the drugs and vices that put him there to begin with. The lyrics are open ended and your mileage may vary, but it's left this listener wondering if Nick knows it's bad for him, but he's too far gone to care.
The album's title track "The Dead Days" touches base on the inevitability of life's greatest tragedy; the only thing it promises us is that it's going to end. Once again, Nick Matthews and company relish
in it. The instrumental work feels almost too
ebullient and upbeat backing up lyrical content this dark and self-referential. "Silence" sees Nick at arguably his most bitter. "Do you even remember what we were up against," he taunts a former companion who appears to have abandoned him. "Time Keeps Running" houses lyrics that reference the band's 2012 EP Built for Blame, Laced with Shame
in what is most certainly a jab at former lead singer Joel Faviere, who's currently serving twelve years on child porn charges. There's a lot
going on through this track, and it's hauntingly overwhelming to watch the band bludgeon the listener with all they have to offer.
"Goodbye Soul" closes out The Dead Days
in vintage Get Scared fashion. The instrumentals are among the hardest hitting found throughout the album. This time, Nick is once again addressing the conclusiveness of where hard luck has led the group. "No one can stop the rain," they repeat, until it's embedded in your mind and you're left lingering on what they mean. The Dead Days
closes on that, and while all eleven songs here are God damn
enjoyable to listen to, the lyrical content is a rollercoaster of emotions that leave you mixed and conflicted.
As of this writing, Nick Matthews is doing better. He insists music -Get Scared in particular- is his life, he's taking up art and working his way back from his addiction. He's certainly not lost in the abyss that engulfed Chester Bennington on One More Light
and he might not even he battling the same kind of demons that nearly took Adam Gontier's life on One-X
. But The Dead Days
is still a sea of bitterness that treks through peaks and valleys (if you can even call them that) of disgust and even defeat. It's emblematic of where Get Scared is as a whole. It might already be too late. The band is on an indefinite hiatus and perhaps mere minutes from the time I hit "submit", Nick will reach out to explain what's going on. For the moment, however, we can only speculate. It's uncertain what the future holds for Get Scared, and if they will even have
a future. Of course, I hope this isn't the end. But if it is, I couldn't have foreseen a better way to go out, because The Dead Days
might go down as the best work Get Scared ever put out, even if they battled through hell and back to do so.