Death For Life gets 4/5 from!

For a band that seems to be cursed, Death By Stereo looked to be very focused on creating this album, a near-perfect blend of metal, hardcore, punk and politics. Exercising a few demons along the way was just a matter of convenience.

The Orange County group's fourth album has to be the album DBS wanted to make for a very long time. Rather than follow the trend of the hipster-metal sound they probably had something to do with creating, DBS manages to stick to their guns by screaming when they need to scream, and singing when they need to sing. They even went as far as including the obligatory metal ballad ("Forever and a Day"), only to have that song turn into one of the heaviest tracks on the album.

Standout tracks have to be "Middle Fingers," which could be singer Efrem Schulz's best screaming effort to date, and "Nosotros Controlamos Todo," which has a breakdown that when played live all DBS fans will be forced to endure the pain coming from the pit. Props to guitarist Dan Palmer for, in the wake of the recent amicable departure of bassist Paul Miner, stepping up his contribution of songwriting for this album. More props to new bassist Tyler Rebbe (also of Pulley) for being able to blend his more progressive style of bass-playing into the DBS traditional hardcore sound.

This album could be the one to propel DBS to new heights. Hopefully they won't be swallowed by the new major-label trend of signing metal bands and drowning them in a sea of Hot Topic-wearing clones. Hopefully a second-stage slot on Ozzfest will keep them real.

Sick Of It All
Killswitch Engage
Iron Maiden

--Andrew J. Brawley
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