Okay, a show of hands of those who remember the fantastically great Creatures of Habit series of snowboard videos......anyone? Come on, crazy party/snowboard/skate/surf videos that were just an unrelenting force of aggression that paid no mind to flow and smooth riding? That just showcased a time when snowboarding was about to be blowed up by its skate influences and a whole crew of skate-influenced riders like Roach, Keith Wallace, Ranquet, and the brothers Fletcher just flailed around and killed it. You know before hip-hop invaded videos and changed all the chaos and waved good-bye to fucked up metalpunk as the background to their party? That's okay if you don't know or don't remember, the whole point of my rambling is that Death by Stereo sound exactly like some of the bands off of those videos and make me smile with memories.
Anyways, this is a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man leap above Death by Stereo's previous release. Where I would sometimes get bored with the sameness and lack of terrorizing aggression in that release, this is just vicious and unrelenting and the vocals flat out kill all of the time. The speed and riffing alongside of the steady buildup of chords and beats recall the glory days of Suicidal Tendencies and take me right back to those older skate and snowboard videos that I was talking about above. Man, you don't even know how happy it makes me to hear crazy riffs carry away overtop of the pummeling rhythms here. In "Wasted Words" when it just hits its highest speed and then the other guitar comes in beside everything else and riffs a little faster than everything else, my smile is too big to fit on my face. I just love it.
The vocals are, as always, fantastic with these guys. Efrem's got such a nice range whether he be screaming along or spitting his hated into the mic or letting his voice soar as he sings that from song to song the vocals never get tiring. Take "Unstoppable" where he sings the main verses and gently caresses the lyrics before things pick and he's screaming his frustrations into the same underlying music but upping the intensity. Couple the vocal style with the out of control riffing and we're talking about some serious love for the skate thrash punks of yore, and you know you're down with that.
The bottom line on this release is that Death by Stereo pay truckloads of homage to great bands of the past that were just vicious punkmetal that (whether they knew it or not at the time) was the perfect soundtrack to a perfect time in snowboarding's history. The homage alone is enough to make me overly happy with this release, but Death by Stereo actually create a great album from start to finish here and I just love it.
If you don't like these tracks, then you won't be down: Shh, It'll be Our Little Secret; Why I Cant Hear, Touch, Smell; Unstoppable, The Plague