Released: 2006, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
The evolution of Diecast has been quick shifting. Together since 1997, when I first stumbled upon the band opening for Slayer in 2001, they were a hard-hitting hardcore ensemble in the vein of Hatebreed. With a new vocalist on hand for 2004’s TEARING DOWN YOUR BLUE SKIES, Diecast emerged as a major player in the metalcore genre, taking the whole clean/harsh vocal dynamic to new levels before it was raped and plundered by every band under the sun. On Diecast’s second release for Century Media Records, INTERNAL REVOLUTION, the band continues to evolve with yet another shift in direction. This time, while not completely dispensing with its metalcore-via-Killswitch Engage angle, the band veers into a modern hard rock direction on several tracks that closely resembles the sound of Sevendust’s latest output. The melodic tendencies that were dabbled in on TEARING DOWN YOUR BLUE SKIES have been fully fleshed out here, the band really hitting its stride and resulting in one of the few metalcore albums released this year to offer something interesting and while not different, it is executed perfectly. Immaculately produced, heavy, melodic and varied enough to make even the most jaded metalhead take notice, Diecast has delivered a most impressive release with INTERNAL REVOLUTION.
Paul Stoddard’s range is certainly among the best of the genre and landing him as vocalist was certainly a major coup for the band. Clean vocals are the major grating point to many metalheads but Stoddard does them well and never gets reduced to whiny, emotive piffle. Stoddard’s bark is pretty standard but his clean vocals bear a smooth, soulful croon that is not unlike that of Sevendust’s Lajon Witherspoon. Continuous lineup changes have been part of Diecast’s history (a whopping nineteen different guitarists!!) and a new rhythm section has been employed since TEARING DOWN YOUR BLUE SKIES. Brad Horion and Dennis Pavia motor along while the guitar tandem of Jon Kita and Kirk Kolaitis drive these songs with searing riffs and blistering solos.
The Slayer-esque solo that opens “Never Forget” paves the way for a brutal vocal attack and a chugging groove that really rolls the song along. The grouping of “Hourglass,” “Fractured” and “Fade Away” seem to lean more towards a Sevendust/modern rock sound that works surprisingly well. Fans of Diecast circa 1999-2000 will undoubtedly be put off by this but kudos must be given to the band for pushing the envelope and really stretching beyond the confines of metalcore. Tracks like “Internal Revolution,” “Out of Reach” and “Definition of A Hero” are God Forbid-tested, moshpit-ready stomps that boast nearly every metalcore cliché known including liberal use of breakdowns, double bass, guitar squeals and Gothenburg-influenced riffs. The real surprise though is album closer, “The Coldest Rain,” which in another era would be called a power ballad. Over top of the haunting piano and strings, Stoddard’s far-reaching vocals effortlessly go from a muted whisper, to a soaring clean vocal, to a rousing bellow. If any track on the album were to be used a showcase for what Stoddard can do as a vocalist, this is clearly it.
A sure bet for classification as one of those widely-divergent “Love It or Hate It” releases, it took several listens to really absorb INTERNAL REVOLUTION. I was initially put off by the heavy use of clean vocals here as opposed to Diecast’s previous efforts but after accepting the fact that the band has taken the road pioneered by Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage, the album became much more enjoyable. There are fleeting moments of generic metalcore here and there but for the most part, Diecast have carved their own niche in a crowded scene with this album. Leaving their DIY-attitude behind for a slick, polished stab at the big leagues, there is a deep-rooted feeling that Diecast has written this material for mainstream acceptance and several of the tracks could easily have crossover potential but if one is able to look past the somewhat contrived nature of INTERNAL REVOLUTION, they will find a solid, thoroughly enjoyable modern metal release here.
KILLER KUTS: “Never Forget,” “Hourglass,” “Fade Away,” “Out of Reach,” “Definition of A Hero”