California metal punks Death By Stereo have finally dished up their vengeful third full-length release following on from 2001's Day Of The Death.
The new line up of vocalist Efrem Schulz, drummer Todd Hennig, guitarists Tito and Dan Palmer and bassist Paul Miner get straight to the point with the opening thrashing out of 'The Plague'. The clatter of Hennig on the drums is certainly a rarity in punk's limited variation formula, while the guitars are thick sounding and upfront. Schulz's unique and limited vocal range often sounds somewhat strained through the track (And on the rest of the album for that matter), but once you get past his limitations, it actually works well with the music.
'Beyond The Blinders' features some excellent vocal passages (Especially in the opening couple of lines), while 'Wasted Words' (Which first appeared on last years Punk-O-Rama 7 compilation, and with the promotional video clip included on this album) is the perfect meld of melody, hardcore and thrash metal basics.
Death By Stereo have an obvious sense of humour with song titles like 'I Wouldn't Piss In Your Ear If Your Brain Was On Fire', 'What I Can't Hear, Touch, Taste, Smell Or See Can't Hurt Me' and 'You're A Bullshit Salesman With A Mouthful Of Samples', but within the ridiculous titles, there are messages for those who choose to acknowledge them. The lead guitar work from both Palmer and Miner simply shines on most tracks, with the impossibly short shred in 'Good Morning America' and 'Shh, It'll Be Our Little Secret' standing head and shoulders above the hardcore riffs beneath the noise. The closing barrage of 'Wake Up, You're Dead' (Again featuring some amazingly fluid lead work) is a clear stand up to authority that will get most up on their feet and shaking fists within the live forum.
Death By Stereo may not be the most original of metal-core bands on the scene, but the level of maturity within the two-year bracket between albums is undeniable. Overall, In The Valley Of Death will do more for Death By Stereo than anything they have released in the past.
By: Justin Donnelly