Wonderland Dementation Dept. - The Awkward Silence (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Wonderland Dementation Dept.

The Awkward Silence (2005)

Mind Riot

I, as I'm sure most people do, think about melodic death metal when Sweden is first brought into a discussion about music. That's not Wonderland Dementation Dept.'s game, however, as their brand of melodic hardcore is a far cry from what their country usually exports. Luckily, the band handles their own, as The Awkward Silence is chock full of rhythm and aggression.

The unique vocal approach that the band's singer takes is one that immediately draws you in, sounding not far off from Boy Sets Fire's Nathan Gray in his heyday, but with a fresh sound that's as perfect a fit for the music as you could possibly ask for. Alternating between his screams and some solid singing, the band is able to keep their sound from going stale by keeping you guessing as to where the song is going next. No matter the vocals, however, these songs still pack a very significant punch.

First and foremost, WDD are a band who knows how to keep a solid rhythm going. The guitars aren't punishing, there's no machine gun double bass, the regular bass isn't thick and pulsating, instead everything is fluid with just the amount of bite that's needed to really take notice. "Stage Blood?" is about as loud as the band is going to get, as they really do let loose and the guitars are able to rage under the manic vocal delivery. Still though, the quick drum rolls remind that it's the back and forth rhythms that are the centerpieces of the songs, even during their quieter moments.

"Lives of the Dead" is a portrait of a band who knows how to slow things down without losing any real momentum. The echo of each individual chord resonates loudly through the song, and the vocals are much more melodic and subdued, though the pitter-patter of the snare is barely audible in points. The song is in a much more emotional light than a lot of the record, but don't hold that against them, as it's no less at place than any of the hardcore tracks. Even here it's evident that each musician is extremely accomplished, and they all invaluably contribute to the ebb and flow of not only individual songs, but the album as a whole. Just as hard hitting as the song itself are the lyrics; "Don't curse the living, it's all they got / They are too busy with dying slowly" sounds especially poignant in the context of the music, and the emotion in the instrumentation only heightens until the song finally breaks, leading nicely into "Homeland Security Program," where conviction in the vocals are so necessary for the politically inspired lyrical content.

After hearing the three-song single Hypnosis several months back, I really wasn't sure how a full-length would pan out, but I'm more than happy to say that this album was worth the wait.