Released: 2006, 1x1 Music
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Although it was released just two years earlier on Lovelost Records, Philadelphia’s One Dead Three Wounded (great band name!) have re-released their debut album, PAINT THE TOWN, on 1x1 Music with two bonus tracks and a fancy digipack/stencil case. In 2003, metalcore wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it was now and at the time, this record would have seriously smoked but with a dozen metalcore albums hitting the market weekly, there isn’t much to set PAINT THIS TOWN apart from the rest of the pack. Taking their musical influences from the obvious 90s Swedish bands as well as some old-school hardcore, the comparisons to Darkest Hour are immediately drawn but there are also some screamo elements, particularly in the vocals and lyrical content that flow through. One Dead Three Wounded should find good company touring with bands like A Life Once Lost or Every Time I Die and hitting the Warped/Sounds of The Underground circuit because those audiences will eat this band up. At only 36 minutes, PAINT THE TOWN is a tight, concise outing but I can’t help but feel I’ve been on this ride many, many times already.
After the trippy, feedback-laden intro, “Cowboys Don’t Look Back” sets the wheels in motion with a frantic, noisy barrage of squelching guitars and screeched vocals. Tim Zahodski’s screams are unwavering throughout and there are no signs of a melodic, clean-sung chorus anywhere. Most tracks border on amelodic charges at the jugular including the shouted gang chorus on the cleverly-titled “Burning Bridges Is So 1999…” and the Darkest Hour-themed “Farewell.” Jim Fox and Jason Willmmot wield mighty axes and the Gothenburg-drenched riffs are mixed with some very interesting southern rock-fuelled grooves such as those on “Ghosts” and “My Life As A Typo.” Solos are used sparingly but the brilliant piece of fretwork established on the solo to “Eight Dollar Prom Dress” almost brings a tear to your eye. Of course, breakdowns are infused here and there with particularly devastating ones popping up on “Eight Dollar Prom Dress,” “My Life As A Typo” and “Cardia” that get the adrenaline pumping. As songwriters, “Welcome Home Tragedy” should be One Dead Three Wounded’s proudest achievement with the bass-heavy ambience drawing the listener into a serpentine riff that creates a mood of melancholy and despair which acts as a perfect centerpiece to the album.
At certain points, the lyrics tend to approach the typical maudlin screamo whining (“She was my heroin”) but for the most part, the archetypes of hearts, guns and love are left out. The all-too-familiar metalcore playbook is out in full force but since the album was recorded three years ago, it is hard to fault the band for this and they certainly can’t be lumped in with the rest of the bandwagon-jumpers currently riding the wave but there is still that overwhelming feeling that I have heard the same album from dozens of other bands.
PAINT THE TOWN might suffer from “too little, too late” solely for the fact that the metalcore ship seems to be on its way out of port. Still, One Dead Three Wounded delivers the goods here and with nods to both Scandinavian metal and down-home southern “rawk,” they definitely have more to offer than your next tight jean/eyeliner/screamo outfit. If nothing else, they deserve a pat on the back for the snazzy packaging and "certificate of authenticty" that comes inside!
KILLER KUTS: “Burning Bridges Is So 1999…,” “Ghosts,” “Eight Dollar Prom Dress,” “My Life As A Typo,” “Cardia”