Dead To Fall – Villainy & Virtue

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Reviewed: January 2005
Released: 2004, Victory Records
Rating: 2.0/5
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman

While much of this is pleasing Melodic Death Metal, a great deal of it is trendy, less-satisfying “screamo” Metalcore nonsense that weakens the overall approach. Don’t get me wrong: this is heads and tails and more heads above their previous release; but it is no Darkest Hour, even still.
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this release is that they finally approach having their own sound. This is a significant leap forward. It also cannot be emphasized enough that, for all their idiosyncrasies, they’re still all keen musicians. And the artwork is fantastic, through and through.
Musically, this is still Metalcore Melodic Death, a sub-subgenre if there ever was one. Layered over a base of Hardcore chugging and mid-tempo plodding are random sprinklings of Euro-style riffing, but none of the Euro attitude. Ultimately, this is both Dead To Fall’s calling card and infrequent weakness: they possess the riffs and breakdowns of their Swedish peers, but they do not possess their songwriting coherency, nor do they possess that uniquely European mindset. It is always as if they are on the outside looking in. In the end, they are voyeurs, peeping toms to progress, but there are curtains in the way.
The record begins nicely enough, like any In Flames record. The vocals are dryer and rougher; this is an improvement. They are also saddled far more comfortably in the mix. The guitarwork is more intricate; the boys have done their homework. The record has an overall worthwhile feel, even if no individual tracks leap out among the rest.
Perhaps this will be the beginning of a greater era for the band””look what’s become of Atreyu, who have positively blossomed since their last LP. The same will likely happen here. Give this band another tour, and another go in the studio, and we might just sing their praises one day yet.


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Track Listing:
1.Torn Self
2.Bastard Set Of Dreams
3.Stand Your Ground
4.No Turning Back
5.Villainy and Virtue
6.Little Birds
7.Blood Of The Moon
8.Cross Section
9.Master Exploder

John Hunt: Vocals
Antone Jones: Gutiar
Justin Jakimiak: Bass
Matt Mattera: Guitar
Evan Kaplan: Drums