Billy Talent - Dead Silence
Record Label: Warner Bros. Records / Roadrunner
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Billy Talent is a punk-rock band from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada that was formed in 1993 (originally playing under the name Pezz). While the band has played together for 20 years now, it is only within the last decade or so that they have achieved mainstream success. Last September Billy Talent hit the shelves with their fourth studio album Dead Silence. Having owned and listened to the album a number of times since its release, I have decided to share my thoughts on Billy Talent's latest release.
The album kicks off with the chilling intro track "Lonely Road to Absolution". This is an outstanding way to start an album and I think the importance of the intro track is something that many bands overlook. "Lonely Road to Absolution" seemlessly transitions into the album's first single, "Viking Death March", a hard-hitting track that further sets the mood of the album. Lead singer Ben Kowalewicz's puts forth an excellent vocal performance here and the guitar and drum work are all well done. Lead guitarist, Ian D'Sa's backing vocals add a lot to the chorus making this track and the intro a very memorable one-two punch.
Billy Talent doesn't let up from there, showing off a number of great tracks throughout the album. Whether it's their more fun, up-tempo songs like the album's second single "Surprise Surprise", and "Man Alive!", their slower, more emotion-driven efforts such as third single "Stand Up and Run" and "Hanging By a Thread", or their more traditional rockers "Runnin' Across the Tracks" and "Love Was Still Around", Dead Silence offers a lot of variety and really showcases the wide array of talents this group possesses. Despite the range of different styles present none of the songs ever feel out of place on the album and all of them are still very true to the sound and style the band has become known for. Each track is slotted into an appropriate place right up to the somber self-titled song "Dead Silence" that ends the album on a great note.
What this album showcases more than anything is the progression of this band as musicians over the past decade, with Kowalewicz leading the charge. Whether it's the superb "Runnin' Across the Tracks", the heartfelt "Stand Up and Run", or the odd but melodic "Crooked Minds", Kowalewicz is at the top of his game, delivering some of the best vocal performances of his career. One particular lyric that always jumps out to me from the aforementioned "Runnin' Across the Tracks" is the line "the ghost of self-denial, it whispers from the graaaaave". Kowalewicz's deliverance of this line never fails to give me goose bumps. With regards to the musicianship, while there isn't a specific track that jumps out to me, taking the album in as a whole it is clear that this is some of the best guitar and drum-work of the group and one of their most refined efforts yet in this regard.
Billy Talent may not try to reinvent themselves with Dead Silence, however this album still displays a number of improvements and maturing for the band as musicians. Kowalewicz's vocals are better than ever before while maintaining his distinct style and the rest of the band combine with him for a truly outstanding album. While Dead Silence may not win you over if you weren't already a fan of Billy Talent, for those who are fans this is one of their best efforts yet and one that's well worth a purchase.