Dead to Fall - The Phoenix Throne (Cover Artwork)

Dead to Fall

The Phoenix Throne (2006)


Dead to Fall's third full-length release on Victory Records is easily the best effort by Chicago's metal masters. The band amazingly is still going on even though they like to play musical chairs with their lineup. Though the lineup is once again completely different, the band's really starting to come around this time. On both Everything I Touch Falls to Pieces and Villainy and Virtue, the overall experience was mediocre at best, with the highlights hidden behind a wave of mediocrity and average at best songwriting. The Phoenix Throne is one hell of an improvement over this band's earlier work.

On Dead to Fall's first full-length, they had a strong Swedish influence, which they down played to a more ‘mosh-friendly' approach on Villainy and Virtue. Phoenix thankfully gets the mix done right, with Dead to Fall completely nailing the Swedish-influenced riffs and still retaining a few breakdowns throughout. The best example of Dead to Fall's improvement is on "Heroes." The song starts off like one cut from their last release, then the dueling Swedish melodic guitars sneak in and creates a killer structure. The melodic solo is only icing on the ever-so-tasty cake.

Another problem with Dead to Fall was mediocrity and John Hunt's vocals. The similar sounding song structures and Hunt's monotonous vocals crafted a piece that could easily dull their listeners to sleep. Thankfully, these problems are fixed for the most part. While the songs on Phoenix are better at separating and sounding different, Hunt's vocals are still a little bit too monotonous, even though he now switches his shriek up from time to time.

Coming into the experience I expected an average at best album hurt by lacking songwriting. Thankfully, Dead to Fall overcame this problem. Also, their artwork should once again draw in new fans, as it's one of the year's best so far.

Dead to Fall's The Phoenix Throne has led to an effective 1-2 metalcore punch by Victory Records, with both Atreyu and Dead to Fall releasing discs within a week of each other. In the end, if you ever had even a slight interest in Dead to Fall, pick this up, because this is easily their best work to date and solves almost all of their previous shortcomings.