Dead Inside - No. 4 (Cover Artwork)

Dead Inside

No. 4 (2001)


There is something slightly pretentious and off-putting about reviews of old releases: even when the review has something new and interesting to say, it seems like changing times affect the relative value of the music. Jawbreaker's Dear You is a good example of this. Many fans were disappointed when the album first came out, but it's aged well (in part because of its then-unforeseeable influence on other bands).

This brings me to Dead Inside's No. 4.

This site has been swamped with reviews of really uninspired music of late. I realize that Bad Religion, for instance, has lots of fans. That does not, however, change the fact that we've heard their sound before. Now don't get me wrong, I like Bad Religion as much as the next guy… they just haven't reached out of my stereo and shaken me like a rag-doll recently.

No. 4, in contrast, is an album so visceral that it borders on the frightening. Recorded over four days in September 2001, it is effectively the audio equivalent of being caught in a riot. Listening to it, I literally experience a rush of adrenaline and can taste tear gas burning in my throat.

Dead Inside is best described as a British hybrid of Born Against and Dag Nasty, with the rage of the former and the musical sensibilities of the latter. Lyrically, Dead Inside's focus is mostly introspective. The lyrics, however, aren't so much "sung" as snarled through gritted teeth, with the songs living up to their ominous ("Coiled like a Snake") names. The music is too dangerous to be called anything but hardcore, yet too fast to be called anything but punk. Long dead Revelation Records band Kiss It Goodbye makes for a good point of reference, although No. 4 eschews the same theatric screaming and metal breakdowns.

Unfortunately, Dead Inside broke up shortly after recording No. 4. Nevertheless, they left behind an entirely unique album that serves as an important reminder that punk is infinitely more vital than the new Bad Religion album or the cicada-like summer swarms of Taking Back Sunday clones might lead one to believe.