Punknews.org
Death By Stereo - Death For Life (Cover Artwork)

Death By Stereo

Death By Stereo: Death For LifeDeath For Life (2005)
Epitaph Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: ThreeChordsAndTheTruthThreeChordsAndTheTruth
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Fearlessly naming their new record "Death For Life" is an instant indication that Death By Stereo aren't about to back down despite the lawsuits and legal issues surrounding the band after a death at one of their shows in Virginia. Just in case you didn't pick up on the name, the record begins with .
iTunes StoreAmazon


Fearlessly naming their new record "Death For Life" is an instant indication that Death By Stereo aren't about to back down despite the lawsuits and legal issues surrounding the band after a death at one of their shows in Virginia. Just in case you didn't pick up on the name, the record begins with some gang vocals chanting the words before quickly kicking into a completely metal riff that would make even the most timid of music fans want to grow their hair out and headbang.

It's not all about meathead riffs though, as opening track "Binge/Purge" progresses. The familiar vocals of Efrem are there, although with a slightly more screamed edge that's present on this record much more than others. Also notable is the guitar solo, sounding more like Guns 'N Roses than anything else. Despite the slight departure it still sounds like classic Death By Stereo.

"I Give My Life" reminds the listener quickly that the band seems to have made the jump to metalcore almost completely now. It's not a new thing; they've been making the transition over their past few records, but this track features some mosh-style screaming before the chorus that's almost n√ľ-metal in tone. Efrem's typical quirky vocals do crop up here though, so it's not as embarrassing as it could be.

"Forever And A Day" stands out as the band's longest song to date, clocking in at just over 5 minutes. It features some light keys and melodic vocals with Efrem singing rather than his trademark yelp or howl. The chorus is quite epic and slow-moving, and it doesn't really fit the band. If I had to guess which track was the single, I'd pick this (although I'd be wrong, as the more powerful "Entombed We Collide" gets that honor). They do try to toughen it up with some screaming in the breakdown, and a tempo change with some fretboard abusing thanks to guitarists Dan Palmer and Tito, but it can't quite pick the song up from a mid-tempo piece of metalcore.

The rest of the record picks up the slack quickly though, and Death By Stereo are back on form again with their usual fast-paced and pounding metal/hard/whatevercore. Todd Hennig's drum beats are tight and driving, keeping the band anchored rhythmically. The band are also showing more usage of the two guitar harmonies, notably on the brilliantly-named track "W.W.J.D?," which could be described as the result of Iron Maiden being brought up in California with Myspace instead of mullets.

The deceptively named "Don't Piss On My Neck And Tell Me It's Raining" is another attempt at slowing down the mix with some added instruments, and this time it works. The vocals sound much more sincere with this track, and the added strings really contribute to the band's sound, as did the choir vocals on 2003's Into The Valley Of Death. It's almost a shame when the inevitable distortion kicks in and the band rage furiously, but it's also exciting to hear them at their best like this, with some interesting spoken word vocals in the breakdown.

Finally, the record ends with the confusingly monikered "This Is Not The End." The track is more of the same, with curiously echoing chorus vocals that sound like a cathedral of the damned. Some nice use of an acoustic guitar and church bells brings the song to an end alongside some interesting string and synths.

It's easy to label Death By Stereo a metalcore band in 2005, but they'll always have their hardcore roots and this is still evident in Death For Life. In a similar way to their last release, it has some perfect moments, some experimental sounds, some jaw-dropping guitar-work, and a couple of tracks that don't really stand out except for the bizarreness of their inclusion. As long as Efrem continues to write the most spastic vocal lines this side of the Blood Brothers, Death By Stereo will continue to slay.

[originally posted on ScenePointBlank.com]

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Tiger Army - Music from Regions BeyondScreeching Weasel - Weasel ManiaDarkest Hour - Undoing RuinThe Spill Canvas - Sunsets And Car CrashesLeftover Crack - Fuck World TradeThe Misfits - Collection IIAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Toasters - In RetrospectAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
istapledmyfoot (December 18, 2006)

sucks!

Anonymous (January 3, 2006)

surely it should be death by filler

tristan (August 14, 2005)

I'm impressed and surprised by Efrem's vocals on this. Probably my favourite DBS record to date.

Anonymous (July 3, 2005)

LOLXSCDSmetalcore sounds like metal except its being performed by people wearing hardcore merchandise

no cannibal corpse here folks LOLXXASADSA

rkl (July 3, 2005)

Metalcore bands involve breakdowns and a more intense vocal style (amongst other traits), incorporating a hardcore influence. Shouldn't the name be self-explanatory?

yeah, it should be. if it made any sense. metal bands have breakdowns too. see: dying fetus, automation, pantera, etc.

so is bones brigade a metalcore band? because they have breakdowns, hardcore influence, and metal riffs.

Anonymous (July 2, 2005)

I think Efrem has been spending too much time with that guy from Atreyu.

Anonymous (July 1, 2005)

I've been a Death fan since '99 and although this is not their best work yet, it still fuckin blows almost any other band out of the water. As said before, Efrem is the only original member of DBS, and they have had a different line-up on every album. How could you not expect drastic changes from album to album? I see it as a good thing..

notfeelingcreative (June 30, 2005)

I've only listened to this twice, but so far it's my least favorite death by stereo album. Still not bad, though.

ElVaquero (June 30, 2005)

I too enjoy Scenepointblank on a semi-regular basis. But generally bashing Pitchfork is just pretty darn stupid. Look past the stigmas and you'll find a lot of intelligent, well-written reviews of good music. Same goes for Cokemachineglow but without the label of "pretentious."

stevejonestherealbones (June 30, 2005)

YOU GUYS ARE HAVING A GAY ARGUEMENT

sorry about the caps. but i'm not fixing it.

anyway. both of you fags are in the t core. so make up and hug

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

Anonymous (June 30, 2005)

Personally, SPB's reviews are some of the better ones on the net. They're in depth and actually discuss the music in an original manner without sounding like idiots. Not something I can say for Pitchfork, Lambgoat, PRP, etc...

ElVaquero (June 30, 2005)

Um, no. First off, I had a review posted at the end of last week. Secondly, that's not even what I was talking about.

brilliantly-named track ‚??W.W.J.D?‚?Ě

deceptively named ‚??Don‚??t Piss On My Neck And Tell Me It‚??s Raining‚?Ě

confusingly monikered ‚??This Is Not The End.‚?Ě

It wouldn't be that noticeable if you didn't start two sequential paragraphs in the same manner. Also, none of those seem like apt descriptions of the song titles to me.

threechordsandthetruth (June 30, 2005)

ElVaquero:

"..attaching completely random adjectives to the song titles"

From your last review:

"the soon-to-be-classic "世界地図 (Sekai Chizu)"
"the rocking "Left With The Dog"
"the laid-back "Twilight Slider."

Please stop the pointless debate now, okay.

Anonymous (June 30, 2005)

So because this site gets a lot of terrible reviews like the Darkest Hour and Transplants one means I have to settle for mediocre ones like this? Without criticism of criticism, every review would be terribly written. Insecurity is a godsend for a writer.

------------

More like, you've gotten so used to shite ones, you don't know a good one when you read it. The whole "random adjective" thing is a technique many in the industry refer to as "being literate" or "not using the same 3 words over and over". It can often be a very effective tool.

Anonymous (June 30, 2005)

great Album. I didn¬īt expect that.
The Ballad sucks a bit but the Rest is good.

http://www.monstersgame.de/?ac=vid&vid=54126

inagreendase (June 30, 2005)

for the 9000th time, what exactly is metalcore? what are the differences between a metal band and a metalcore band, aside from style of dress?

Metalcore bands involve breakdowns and a more intense vocal style (amongst other traits), incorporating a hardcore influence. Shouldn't the name be self-explanatory?

ElVaquero (June 29, 2005)

So because this site gets a lot of terrible reviews like the Darkest Hour and Transplants one means I have to settle for mediocre ones like this? Without criticism of criticism, every review would be terribly written. Insecurity is a godsend for a writer.

Jameson (June 29, 2005)

The guitarists on the first album were Jim Miner and Ian Fowles, although I believe Ian left just after recording the album and was replaced on the subsequent tour by Keith from Throwdown.

Anonymous (June 29, 2005)

The review ain't so hot either, and I'm not just disagreeing here. Half of the review seems to be concerned with attaching completely random adjectives to the song titles and he isn't even familar with the band's catch-phrase history (Death For Life isn't anything new).

------------------

WTF? Considering all the moronic, half-baked attepmts at "reviews" you see around here a lot of the time, it's nice to see something that's actually beyond the level of a brain-damaged infant for once.

Score's for not bitching about a scene, and for actually being a good review.

Anonymous (June 29, 2005)

the voice of the Avenged Sevenfold Guy sounds pretty cool on here

stevejonestherealbones (June 29, 2005)

i think into the vally and day of the death are the best

and then if looks could kill and this one are slightly under those two.

butthey are all must owns

- jones

sickboi (June 29, 2005)

Best DBS album is "Into the Valley of Death".

Anonymous (June 29, 2005)

So. What's the best DBS album, then?

threechordsandthetruth (June 29, 2005)

"Half of the review seems to be concerned with attaching completely random adjectives to the song titles and he isn't even familar with the band's catch-phrase history (Death For Life isn't anything new)."

I know that it's an old band term, I was just talking about the name in context of that fan's death and such. As for the 'random adjectives', that's called writing. If it was just a boring list of the song names in order saying "distorted guitars, fast drums, chugga-chugga breakdowns" nobody would read this.

stevejonestherealbones (June 29, 2005)

"Dan's not on the first record. Efrem is the only original member left."

welp...all music guide is wrong i guess..

- jones

Anonymous (June 29, 2005)

Dan's not on the first record. Efrem is the only original member left.

rkl (June 29, 2005)

for the 9000th time, what exactly is metalcore? what are the differences between a metal band and a metalcore band, aside from style of dress?

with all you schmoes tossing this word around, id think at least one of you could give me an answer.

stevejonestherealbones (June 29, 2005)

i just checked all music guide. the only members in the band now that were on if looks... are efrem and dan palmer...

- jones

stevejonestherealbones (June 29, 2005)

um. i dont know...dan palmer, the guitarist, might be original too. i know he was on day of the death....but i cant find my if looks cd...so i dont know if he was on that one too

- jones

Jameson (June 29, 2005)

Efrem is the OG DBS

Jameson (June 29, 2005)

DBS has had a different lineup for each of its albums, explaining this band's constant evolution. Phenomenal effort.

Big_Guy (June 29, 2005)

"and to anyone still saying shit like "this aint no if looks could kill..." let it fuckin go..that was 3 albums ago and 6 years ago as well as a couple of members ago."

Isn't Efrem the only original member left?

Big_Guy (June 29, 2005)

For me, the production keeps this record from being all that it could be.

theres no balls behind anything. The gain on the guitars is surprisingly low. The drums are kind of weak. The singing is perfect though, and Efrem is one of my favorite singers.

the same thing happened to the last Lamb Of God cd.......so weak compared to other metal cds.

other than that, this cd is great and right behind Into The Valley Of Death for greatness.

ElVaquero (June 28, 2005)

This album is surprisingly terrible considering the phenomenality of Into The Valley Of Death. U was expecting this to be more awesomeness but instead I got incredibly boring instrumentation (chugga chugga, please) and annoying vocals. What the fuck happened?

The review ain't so hot either, and I'm not just disagreeing here. Half of the review seems to be concerned with attaching completely random adjectives to the song titles and he isn't even familar with the band's catch-phrase history (Death For Life isn't anything new).

If Looks Could Kill > Valley Of Death > Day Of The Death > This turd.

Bryne (June 28, 2005)

I dig it. It's pretty catchy, actually.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

This sounds like typical metalcore now. Entombed We Collide and This Curse of Days almost sound like Atreyu. What happened!?

elliot (June 28, 2005)

"Honestly, everything that made Death by Stereo stand out from the crowd in the first place is completely missing on this album. Efrem's vocal inflection, the humor, the music itself... all gone. I was looking forward to this record so much and I was so disappointed.
Now they just sound like another metalcore band, nothing special and nothing makes them stand out on this record at all."

Honestly, could you write anything more ridiculous and without merit? This is a great album, and anyone who doesn't like it needs to take their tampon out and grow the hell up.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

Honestly, everything that made Death by Stereo stand out from the crowd in the first place is completely missing on this album. Efrem's vocal inflection, the humor, the music itself... all gone. I was looking forward to this record so much and I was so disappointed.

Now they just sound like another metalcore band, nothing special and nothing makes them stand out on this record at all.

Karasu (June 28, 2005)

Pure metalcore. I place them in between Atreyu and From Autumn. I enjoy this ablum.

andrew13 (June 28, 2005)

i agree with jones on this one... this album is fucking awesome... one of my favorites of 2005 so far...

stevejonestherealbones (June 28, 2005)

i dont hear the metalcore at all....the sing scream stuff on here is NOTHING like the sing/scream stuff atreyu does or the stuff on avengeds waking the fallen....the singing is completely different. the singing is one of the best things on this album...and the music isnt nearly as "metal" as alot of you making it out to be....quit being pussy ass punks

and to anyone still saying shit like "this aint no if looks could kill..." let it fuckin go..that was 3 albums ago and 6 years ago as well as a couple of members ago.

- jones the bones

NoUse4aScnName00 (June 28, 2005)

Not nearly as good as their last album. Will be excited to see them open for Rise Against and Alk3 tho. They grew too much metal. Their last album was a good mix of metal and punk but this album seems way too like that shitty Atreyu music when he screams.

elliot (June 28, 2005)

this is their sing the sorrow? wow. could you possibly be any dumber?

pastepunk (June 28, 2005)

I'm not bagging on 'em, the choruses just caught me off guard. Compared to their earlier albums, I'm not used to paying such strong attention to those kinds of catchy vocals with DBS, as compared to their riffs and so forth. It's definitely not a bad thing, just different.

sickboi (June 28, 2005)

Everyone bags on the poppy chorus' on this (Jordan, I'm looking at you), but I think they are pretty rad. Not as good as their previous, but definately a keeper.

peilocal (June 28, 2005)

Production wise, this album sounds fantastic. Much better than Into the Valley of Death. Musically, I'm not as big a fan as their previous work. They are a lot more harder on this one, but I preferred their previous work. Some really good songs on here, but it does sound quite a bit different than previous work.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

I liked it when they weren't playing metalcore, ho hum i'm sure this will sell.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

When I saw this cd in the store, I thought it was a Hispanic Rap Album.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

god, this album is horrible. its like DBS's version of Sing the Sorrow.

--------------------------------------------------

That was right on the money, this is no If Looks Could Kill at all.

TheOneTrueBill (June 28, 2005)

Tyler needs to get back to Pulley.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

still shitty

tylerdurden8136 (June 28, 2005)

this album was actually the first sample i ever had of death by stereo (i know, i know, i'm a little late) but i've since listened to the rest of their albums. death for life, however, still gets the most plays. i can't get enough of this album or i give my life...perfection.

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

god, this album is horrible. its like DBS's version of Sing the Sorrow. Blech.

p-fresh (June 28, 2005)

This band needs to do a fucking headlining tour and get their asses back here!!!

I love this cd, for the record.

stevejonestherealbones (June 28, 2005)

this album is great. i dont think its a big departure from their sound as i have read in some other reviews.

the vocals are a 10/10 on this record. efrem has one of the best voices in hard rock right now.

in middle fingers when he sings "youre gonna die, we're here to stay" its fucking creepy/scary/rad

i love this album

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

bizzlebrizzle (June 28, 2005)

I heard they're sounding like Killswitch on this one, that makes me not want to listen to this.

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


The Fest 13

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go