Dead By April - Incomparable
Record Label - Spine Farm
Release Date - September 21st 2011
In such a competitive industry many bands spend their careers crafting one album of musical creativity and originallity in which they can create an identity with. Many bands have released their breakthrough album and ever since have become recognised as legit artists amongst their genre of music. However many bands try to put together this album and never seem to come out on top despite having noticable potential. The band in question today is Sweedens metal/boyband hybrid Dead By April and their latest release in the form of their second album Incomparable. Since releasing their debut back in 2009 (Dead By April) Dead By April have tried to create an identity for themselves by mixing metalcore inspired instrumentals along with over the top cheesy boyband inspired vocalising and lyrics. Now with the promise of a more edgy and heavy driven album, will Incomparable prove to be Dead By Aprils breakthrough they so desperately need?
As much as i would like to say yes, sadly this not the case. No new ground is covered in Incomparable as Dead By April return to formulating every track with typical metalcore styled chugging guitar riffs. Most of what made Dead By Aprils debut enjoyable is certainly repeated on every song of Incomparable which isn't necasserily a bad thing but this obvious use of lazy songwriting and repitition will mostly infuriate and dissapoint members of Dead By Aprils fanbase that were expecting a more raw and heavey sound. Alexander Svenningson's quick paced and heavy hitting drumming is a pleasent inclusion on certain tracks ("Two Faced", "Incomparable", "Last Goodbye") but are not enough to make up for the weakness of Dead By Aprils overused sound. Tracks like "Real And True" and "When You Wake Up" are just a constant reminder that the sound that made Dead By Aprils debut interesting is slowly becoming depleted. If not for new Dead By Aprils new frontman Zandro Diago's emotionally infectious harmonies and Jimmie Strimmels blistering growls forming a clean/scream dual vocalisation along side energetic synthesizers, most of this album would appear to be a weak attempt at creating a record that has been created a thousand times in the metal sub-genre. The vocalising and the synthesizres certainly save this album from being a complete dissapointment whilst everything else seems to fall short.
Incomparable isn't all doom and gloom though. It has noticable flaws and at times feels over-produced, but moments on the album certainly burst with potential which is enough to pay attention to the songs which really deliver. Incomparables is built up of tracks that have the ability of being simplistic and yet attention grabbing. Every track is formulated along the lines of verse,chorus,verse and this seems to pay off as it compliments the boyband inspired sound perfectly preventing each song from trying too hard and failing to keep the listeners attention. Overall it's simple song structures and simple songwriting that doesn't always achieve brilliance and perfection but at the same time doesn't aim too high but still manages to offer tracks that ignite interest and curiousity. The highlight of the album has to be in the way chugging guitars and dark yet pressuring synth lead verses build up and instantly burst into big sing-along angelic choruses. The heartwarming emotion filled sound that is Diagos voice leads these poppy power chord infectious choruses along side melodic synthesizers to compliment the simplistic and repitiveness of the instrumentals and makes sure all attention is on his voice. However much the boyband aspect of this band will be criricised (trust me, it will) for it's over the top lyrics that make you feel like everyday's valentines day(All of the things that i never knew, i'm standing right here and i'm calling you, you mean the world to me and believe it is true, i love you), it can certainly be considered as Incomparables saving grace. Where heaviness appears to be void, Diago and Strimmels vocalising along with well written melodic choruses certainly sparked moments of interest on the album.
Whilst most tracks don't offer the heaviness that was promised on Incomparable, Certain tracks do manage to create what can only be described as intensity. "More Than Yesterday" is a perfect example of what i just mentioned as it is far the closest thing to a modern metal track than any other Dead By April track to date. Dark and electrifying synthesizers clash along side fast paced metalcore inspired guitaring and drumming which are furiously battle with Strimmels harsh vocalising on what is by far Strimmels best performance in Dead By April to date. "Two Faced" is another song at a constantly fast pace which soon gives way to slow down and introduce a few seconds of keyboard only to burst into an aggressive synth filled breakdown once again lead by Strimmels snarls and growls. Songs such as lost leave no room to breathe and consists of a fast pace heavy hitting drumming whilst "Incomparable" maintain a slower speed along side a bright and colourful synth/raw chugging guitar combination only to build up to a chorus which highlights Diagos vocal range. Other songs present on Incomparable focus on pure melody and boyband driven structures (Calling, Crossroads, Last Goodbye).
After being subject to line-up changes over the past year, the mistakes made on Incomparable are understandable but at the same time infuriating. Yet Dead By April still present themselves as a band desperatley trying to breakthrough and create an image for themselves amongst a music scene that is crawling with copied ideas or just plain bad creativity. Incomparable may not be Dead By Aprils lucky break but it's definately an album that burns up curiousity and with the potential band has it will leave fans asking themsleves after every listen "What if?"