DEATH BY STEREO
DEATH IS MY ONLY FRIEND
Orange County hardcore punk bastion Death By Stereo have made a career of taking chances and changing up their sound, so there’s no surprise that the stalwart act’s fifth full-length disc, the 15-track DEATH IS MY ONLY FRIEND continues the trend. Pulling further away from their hardcore punk roots (associating itself more with a modern metallic approach a la Atreyu and AX7 these days) yet retaining the simmering intensity regardless how far the group has traveled off the starting line of the journey, their well-tread lead guitar heavy style and fist-pumping group vocal anthem paradigm remains a huge part of the music’s makeup much to the chagrin of old-schoolers (“Welcome to the Party”, “I Sing for You”, “The Ballad of Sid Dynamite”). The disc does include its fair share of clunky head-scratching moments however, as piano ballad “Forever and a Day” and the awkward stab at radio rock on “The Last Song” comes off contrived and out of place, but ultimately Death By Stereo redeems itself by laying down a satisfying smattering of the hurried punky hullabaloo that put this band on the map in between moments of well-earned but shaky attempts of artistic liberty (“We Sing Today for a Better Tomorrow”).