Death By Stereo Bio
Balancing chaos and consciousness is no easy feat, and few bands will ever do it as well as Death By Stereo has on the astonishing new disc Death For Life. Brutal and brutally honest, the set's eleven songs come swinging at you like a bag of bricks as they embrace the extremities of hardcore and the fluid riffs of metal.
"We fought it out and found out what we want to be," says vocalist Efrem Schulz. "We're still here, still fighting, still pissed and not pulling any punches. And while we may be into some pissed off music -- at the same time we want to party. We also love Van Halen. So why not let out all of this aggression and have a blast doing it? So many people are so uptight about mixing the two ideas."
With that in mind, there is still no way to prepare for "Binge/Purge," a musical riot of a tune peppered with touches of melody and the tenacious, expressive guitar lines of Death By Stereo's Dan Palmer and Tito. "It's a song that deals with the world and all the bullshit that is constantly shoved down our throats," says Schulz. "Everyone feeds off of this violence, apathy and ignorance. We want to purge it all out."
Crafted with the help of Avenged Sevenfold vets The Factory (the production duo of Fred Archambault and Bruce MacFarlane), Death For Life marks a new sound and dynamic for Death By Stereo. "Working with Fred and Bruce was the best thing that could have happened to us," Efrem explains. "They really cracked the whip and made us play better than we ever have."
Schulz also cites new DBS bassist Tyler Rebbe for helping "add some much needed balls to our sound" as well as his own use of a vocal coach to expand on his vocal ability and endurance. Evidence of the latter's effectiveness is perhaps best exhibited on the sonic knuckle sandwich "Give My Life" as Efrem counters his biting, guttural throat work with the optimistic, alluring refrain, "We will live strong."
Braver still is the band's first-ever ballad "Forever And A Day," which forgoes much of Death By Stereo's hard-as-fuck tact for a moment of introspection. Says Schulz: "It's about friendship and always being there through the best and the worst, the dark and the light."
Also symbolic is the fact that Efrem recently shed his patented 'hawk. "It was just time for a change," he says of his new look. "You can't do the same thing forever. We're just moving forward, moving on and shedding our skin." Still, fans of the group's heavy, unrelenting drive should still find delight in maniacal charges like "Entombed We Collide," complete with the robo-drumming of Todd Hennig, plus recent live faves like "Middle Fingers" and "W.W.J.D.?"
Putting Death For Life up against its predecessor, 2003's Into The Valley of Death, Schulz says, "I think it blows it away. I love the last one but I think we really found out how to get our ideas on tape with this album. We've been trying to find this sound for so long and we finally unlocked the door. Dan took the reigns as the main songwriter and came back with the fiercest sounding stuff we have ever done, but he didn't lose sight of the dynamics. He got real gentle with his guitar when he needed to. Todd killed it. Tito shredded it. Tyler blew us all away. This record is who we are. I am more excited than ever. We are recharged, reenergized and ready to take on the world."
Perhaps no other song on Death For Life speaks for this new chapter of Death By Stereo better than "Forget Regret." As Tito's chugga-chugga riffs duel with Palmer's engaging guitar riff and Hennig's pummeling drums, it all becomes clear. "It's about dealing with death and learning to move on and not living a life of regret," explains the singer.
As Schulz delivers the tune's howling, infectious refrain, atop the rumble of Tyler's throbbing bass, it's more evident than ever that this five-piece is unrivaled in its fury. When probed for a credo that defines Death By Stereo, the singer fires back, "Never give up. Never give in." Roger that.