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THEORY OF A DEADMAN

(ROADRUNNER)

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As soon as Nickelback became one of the biggest names in rock, frontman Chad Kroeger started using his new-found clout to bring the rest of his Vancouver neo-grunge brethren into the spotlight. He helped write and produce Defaultís hit debut, and he does the same thing on the first Theory of a Deadman album.

Kroegerís economical grunge-pop blueprint may have spawned a couple of great rock singles, but its rigidity sure doesnít make it easy to tell the bands he works with apart. Theory of a Deadman do their best to put their own stamp on the material: frontman Tyler Connolly has an impressive vocal range that recalls Chris Cornell, and the band season their angst with a Southern-rock twang. On the first single, "Nothing Could Come Between Us," the group settle into a cheerless plod that they canít break out of. Connolly has better moments as a writer: he ditches his girl for a bunch of sleazy metal riffs on "Invisible Man," and a string section gets weepy with him on "The Last Song." Thereís nothing wrong with a little corporate-rock nepotism, of course, but these guys donít quite sound ready for prime time.

(Theory of a Deadman open for Saliva next Friday, November 15, at Axis. Call 617-423-NEXT.)

BY SEAN RICHARDSON

Issue Date: November 7 - 14, 2002
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