Dance Gavin Dance
Afterburner


3.5
great

Review

by MrToothbrush USER (10 Reviews)
April 24th, 2020 | 786 replies


Release Date: 2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dance Gavin Dance by numbers

Dance Gavin Dance is a band which needs no introduction. Arguably the kings of post-hardcore, their style is well known to anyone who has listened to more than 5 of their songs. They are now on their 9th album with their own particular brand of post-hardcore well established and just as well rounded. But does the style still hold up after all this time?

Mostly yes. All of the elements that we know and love them for are still there. This is a band who have found the winning formula; intricate guitar lines, stellar drumming, solid bass, and switching between soaring vocals and harsh screams, with often the former having meaning and the latter being nonsense, and finally throwing in some sugary sweet production. It all adds up to a fun time, but something is missing; the execution on this album lacks purpose and feeling. The singles prior to this were promising (after a few listens, because Dance Gavin Dance’s music can often only fully be appreciated after it has been on repeat for 20 minutes) and they still had something behind them but there seems to be a hollowness behind most of the tracks on Afterburner, despite everything being in its place and working well. Their previous efforts (especially Mothership and even Artificial Selection) were solidly produced and even though some tracks were lacking in the creativity department, you could at least tell that they were giving everything they’ve got and meant what they were putting out. This just doesn’t seem to be the case as much here.

Even the lyrics (at least on Jon’s part) have slipped slightly. As mentioned before, Jon Mess does often scream nonsense, however even his lyrics in previous albums had more meaning than “Multiple stab wounds, yeah” or “My mouth is open wider than the time I had sex” or even “Feeling angry, go go night night / Me go feed the pigeons”. There just seems to be a slight lack of effort on his part. Tilian’s lyrics have meaning at least. But it’s not just Jon. Every member seems to be on autopilot, as if this is just something that they do as opposed to something that they want to do. This even shows in their most recent music videos, where they’re just doing their thing without much effort being put into it.

Having said that, there are some highlights and some effort is made to be slightly different and expand their sound. Tilian has brought back some of the screaming from his Tides Of Man days to the songs Lyrics Lie and Prisoner, which are a nice contrast to Jon. Calentamiento Global is almost entirely in Spanish, which gives some variety. Some effects are added to the vocals in this song, as well as in Parallels. There are also some nice features on the last two tracks, from Andrew Wells and Johnny Franck respectively, where Andrew's vocals complements Tillian's very well and Johnny's vocals provide a nice contrast a la Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most from their self-titled.

There are also times when their brilliance shines through, albeit fewer and further between than I’d like and than they are capable of. Strawberry’s Wake, for example, is one of their standout tracks where Tilian’s vocals are just as great as ever, and where DGD most approach what they are capable of (even if the best part of the song is the final 30 seconds). Parody Catharsis is also strong, perhaps because they are putting energy into it which lacks in the other songs, but also because it contains light rapping from Will Swan. There is even a full rap verse in Into The Sunset from Will, who hasn’t appeared in this capacity since Instant Gratification. Night Sway has one of the best DGD riffs in recent memory and has a lot of energy. I would also say that overall, the second half of the album is better than the first for these reasons, with some sparse moments of brilliance in the first few tracks; the last 45 seconds of Prisoner and the last minute of Lyrics Lie come to mind, where the band all gel together nicely with Tilian and Jon flexing their still impressive vocals over the top.

When it comes down to it though, this is Dance Gavin Dance by numbers. Whereas in previous efforts, they were really going for it and it showed, here they seem to be skating by on pure talent as opposed to really pushing their sound for all that it can be. Maybe they feel as if they have run out of steam or places to go with it. Maybe they just lack inspiration after doing this for 13 years. Whatever the reason, this is still the same old Dance Gavin Dance and it is still a good album, but perhaps they all need a break to go and do their own thing for a while. Maybe then will they re-discover why they are doing this instead of just what, where, when and how, and we will finally get another record at the heights that we all know they are capable of reaching.



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user ratings (563)
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Tyler White STAFF (4)
Building upon the past....

renegadestrings (4)
Give me substance, give me something...

ajcollins15 (3)
A band losing steam...

tyler (2)
No...



Comments:Add a Comment 
MonotoneCulprit
April 24th 2020


199 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Glad someone was able to successfully write out how I feel about this album. The singles definitely have a hollow uninspired feel to them. I'm still enjoying this, and it certainly has it's highs (mostly on the back half), but it does feel like they are finally starting to phone it in after churning out music for so long. It was only a matter of time really.



3.5 seems like a good settling point. I'll enjoy listening to this, but won't love most of it.



Nevertheless Pos'd. Solid review.

Scheumke
April 24th 2020


2666 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this is pretty much my exact take on this.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
April 24th 2020


16660 Comments


hard disagree on mess’ lyrics. best since the secret band ep imo

SrpskiCekic
April 24th 2020


166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There are 3 or 4 fun songs here, rest are DGD going on autopilot. They really should take a step back and stop churning out these things for a while. Mothership and AS are cohesive and don't have a bad song on them, while this just feels disjointed and uninspired.

nash1311
April 24th 2020


8230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How the hell could someone 5 this lol. Not sure how to articulate how I feel about this album yet. I like the groovy/dancey feel on a lot of the tracks, but didn't fall in love with anything yet.

Storm In A Teacup
April 24th 2020


45882 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Sorry but an album with Prisoner on is never just "by the numbers".

SteakByrnes
April 24th 2020


30022 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Album slaps

BeeRyan
April 24th 2020


1799 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Glad tilian is screaming more cause damn his hooks are snoozers

vult
April 24th 2020


2378 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Say Hi and One in an Million are winners on here. I wouldn't say it's "by the numbers" because they have several unique tracks like Calentamiento Global, Parallels and Into the Sunset, but those tracks missed with me unfortunately.

Kazooicide
April 24th 2020


13 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

would call this a disappointment if i were expecting anything.

ExhaleTheLight
April 24th 2020


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

As a Spanish speaker, Calentamiento Global is pretty cringe.

Shiranui
April 24th 2020


1049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

10.000 WORDS CLING TO PHOTOS OF MEN MEAT.

Sauce
April 24th 2020


930 Comments


first listen is not exciting me but also dgd albums can be growers. guess i was expecting more instant jamz after prisoner and lyrics lie.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
April 24th 2020


16660 Comments


stick around get stuck

vult
April 24th 2020


2378 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Had this at a 3.5 after two listen throughs, dropped to a 3 because while the highs on the album are good, the lows are really bad.



Parody Cartharsis is a jam.

MotokoKusanagi
April 24th 2020


4290 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

their weakest album but still a lot of fun. hope it grows

Element
April 24th 2020


98 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

it's just dgd at this point. they've settled into formulas and aren't doing much special anymore, track with Zachary Garren is fire though and Jon does sound very secret band at times.

vult
April 24th 2020


2378 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Parallels is, quite possibly, the worst song DGD has ever released. While the last minute is sick, it's not worth listening through the whole track to get there.

MotokoKusanagi
April 24th 2020


4290 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ngl i actually fuck with Parallels intro lol, it's catchy what can i say

everyone else seems to hate it tho. personally stuff like Sunset and Calentamiento are tougher to stomach

vult
April 24th 2020


2378 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

One in a Million --> Born to Fail, and Night Sway --> Nothing Shameful are great runs on the album. Parallels, Sunset, and Calentamiento are easy bottom three.



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