Dead By July - Before Dishonor (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dead By July

Before Dishonor (2003)


Dead by July come to us by way of Cleveland, Ohio, their mission is to rock. Knowing nothing about the band, and always trying to guess what a band sounds like before I hear them, my first thoughts could be summed up like this:

"Hmmm, they have dead in their name."

"Before dishonor? Isn't that a Hatebreed song?"

"What kind of tough guy hardcore band has a song called ‘Rock Radio'?"

"Hey! This isn't tough guy hardcore; this is the opposite of tough guy hardcore, good music!"

Yeah, never judge an album by its cover, or the band's name, or the name of said album. Ok, so if you got past the cheesy intro or didn't scroll down to sing the praises of tough guy hardcore, then we actually get to the music. This six song EP is ridiculously catchy. Dead by July play a style of rock n roll tinged punk that at times reminds me of Social Distortion. This style has been attempted before by other bands, and usually it's either hit or miss with me. This band succeeds where others have previously failed because they manage to capture the emotion and energy that makes this music so great in the first place.

The guitar playing is noteworthy as well, the leads are impressive but not overly complex either, basically they're perfectly engineered to become stuck in your head forever. The lyrics touch on several issues: politics, drug use, and the complacency of rock radio stations to name a few. Here are a few lines I found particularly amusing: "intro, verse, chorus, didn't we just hear this song? Well it was three minutes and thirty seconds, why did it seem so long? Anyone can buy airtime with three dolla bills y'all." Not everything on here is humorous, but there is a certain level of sarcasm throughout this disc

This is apparently only the second release in the Bockhorn records catalog, not a bad way to start. This label and this band both have bright futures if this is any indicator of what is to come.