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Released: 2013, Self Released
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Common Dead is the name of a melodic thrash band comprised solely of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Laurenson. ALLEGORIZE is the third full length offering and fourth release overall (considering 2011's "Interim Flesh" EP)
The rhythmically assaulting "Suffer As I Have" opens the album with some pretty impressive stop on a dime tempo changes, airy atmospheric keys and grating vocals. "Worldview" is next and features a memorable chorus that you'll find yourself humming after only a few listens. "Most People" almost has an indie-rock lean to it, being not entirely rooted in metal with riffs marrying a carefree Sonic Youth with something closer resembling Machine Head. "Enlightenment" features melodic carousel like lead guitar lines, a bouncy rhythm section, introspective lyrically with a gruff barking vocal approach... and it works pretty well! Andrew seems to understand how to adequately conduct traffic considering the drums are all programmed and the stringed instruments and vocals are also all performed by him and there are actual hooks to be found in this latest batch of songs.
"Outer Harbor" reminds me a bit of the modern thrash in the Gothenburg vein or maybe Omnium Gatherum from Finland. Lush yet abrasive, gloomy while still modern. This musical approach carries over into the reverb laden arpeggiated riffery of "Caustica" complete with minimalistic symphonic keys backdropped against a heavily snycopated and percussive rhythm section. "Venture In Blood" retains this spacy aura that hallmarks this ALLEGORIZE as perhaps Common Dead's most experimental release to date. What I mean by that is I hear a broad range of influences creeping to the forefront and many are from the far left field of what I would consider hard rock or metal. The sound of the lead guitar has the surf rock verbage of East Bay Ray from the Dead Kennedy's but the melodies at times remind me more of Sebadoh. When you combine that with the double bass drums and Andrews vocals it becomes a new strange beast unto itself. "Fathomless" being an excellent example of this. "Modern Obsolete" is undoubtedly the most pummeling, chug-a-lug assault to be found on ALLEGORIZE. There are some pretty intense tremolo picked palm muted rhythms and machine gun kick drumming. I have to say that although the tracks on ALLEGORIZE don't come across as repitive or interchangeable they do share the same feel and musical approach and fit together well as an album.
I've reviewed some of Andrew's albums before and I believe ALLEGORIZE to probably be his most ambitious to date. There are some well crafted hooks, some catchy and memorable choruses and everything seems pretty realized musically speaking. ALLEGORIZE is not without it's criticism however, the production as a whole was a bit muddied and though I get what he's trying to convey with the drum programming it comes across too mechanical sounding in the long run. If Andrew is to perform the lions share of the duties on future releases he should either A) Become an amazing studio session drummer or B) Find someone who already is and enlist their services for future recordings. All in all, consistency is key and Andrew continues to grow as a songwriter and musician on each Common Dead release.
1. Suffer As I Have
3. Most People
5. Outer Harbor
7. Venture In Blood
9. Modern Obsolete
Andrew Laurenson - All instruments and vocals
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