Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Review: Dead By April - Incomparable

 Back in July, I really got into Yorkshire's metalcore representatives Asking Alexandria, and their fusion of solid  breakdown packed metalcore with danceable trance beats with a Euro-pop influence was pretty fascinating. It was like nothing I'd ever heard before. Since I've been hunting across the internet, trying to find other bands who will present a similar style as effectively as Danny Worsnop and Co. Sometimes, there's been successful results in this; other times, I've heard the kind of weak, overly pop inspired garbage that Swedish alt metallers Dead By April have to offer on their second album Incomparable.
What's sad about this album is that it doesn't sound lazy or uncared for at all. In fact, it's quite obvious that a lot of passion has been put into the making of this album, and the very opening of Dreaming the synthesizer use is actually quite promising, as it grips listeners in with the idea that the detail put into the pop element is going to be balanced out by the metal element. But this never happens. The album's poor production means makes it more of a task to identify any riffing meaning our main rhythm section comes from the synthesizers, which unlike on many art rock albums just gets irritating after a while. At this point I will give credit to drummer Alexander Sevenningson, whose drum-kit pounding is the only thing that gives this album any sense of power that a metal album should have. Lord knows, there's nothing else on this album where we're going to find it.
 The structure of many of the songs on the album takes things in a further chart pop-influenced realm, with many songs having the kind of structure one would be used to hearing in a dull, manufactured boy-band song. The only group I can think to compare Calling and Crossroads to would be Westlife, even during the moments featuring screamed vocals in their repetitive structure, big choruses and of course the supposed emotional softer bridge section. The only thing that's missing is the uplifting key change at the final chorus. Perhaps this is effective in symbolizing the lack of hope this band will face in time to come.
 Since the guitar work isn't of any real interest, with it being a collection of repetitive breakdowns that you wouldn't be seen dead headbanging to, the final issue of Incomparable is the shoddy vocals of Jimmie Strimell and Zandro Santiago. Strimell's screamed vocals sound like an unenjoyable version of Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows on Sounding the Seventh Trumpet and Waking the Fallen, which given the polished sounding pop metal on incomparable as opposed to the rough and relentless hardcore assault that A7X gave us, are hardly complimented by the music, however when they vocals do fit with the musical sound, Santiago gives us something much worse. His desperate, whiny tone and overuse of auto-tune means the only acts he could possibly be compared to are The Backstreet Boys, or Bro... Br.. Brokenc... Brok.. Brokency... the other "B Word".
 Basically, Incomparable is a horrible album. The songs are badly executed, the synthesized pop element outweighs the metal element by a considerable distance and it carries a very manufactured feel about it. I like the the concept of mixing pop and dance music elements with metal, but if the average sound that it produces is anything like this, it's probably time to give up on being optimistic about this type of music and hope that Asking Alexandria doesn't become an influential band for the next generation of metal musicians.

 Dead By April's Incomparable is out now via Spinefarm. The band will tour the UK in December with Marionette.

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