DEATH BY STEREO
"Into The Valley Of Death"
The name is an implied threat, but you can be damn sure Death By Stereo make good on it with their third full-length, Into The Valley Of Death. Fusing brainy metal with bludgeoning hardcore, the album's songs come together to form a brutally efficient killing machine. Singer Efrem Schulz gargles more glass and cement than Agnostic Front's Roger Miret on punishers like "Shh, It'll Be Our Little Secret" and croons like Serj Tankian on "Let Down And Alone." (Not surprisingly, the frantic, staccato pacing of that song's middle section recalls System Of A Down's "Prison Song.") But vocals aside, the real story here is the playing. Razor-like hardcore guitars change tempos on a dime, while the band drop in blistering metal leads that would make Iron Maiden smile. On second thought, Death By Stereo isn't a threat -- it's a promise.