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Death by Stereo
INTO THE VALLEY OF DEATH
(Epitaph)
Stars graphics

Like fellow Southern California natives Avenged Sevenfold and Bleeding Through, Death by Stereo play new-school hardcore mixed with old-school pop metal. What sets them apart on their second Epitaph release is their vehement lyrics, which forgo artiness in favor of direct attacks on the American status quo. Apathy is what enrages frontman Efrem Schulz the most. "Ideas go unheard with every breath I spew/We lay it all on the line, we do it night after night," he barks on the first single, "Wasted Words." In the video, he preaches to a congregation of skeletons, and the guitars keep them riveted with a clever combination of mosh and melody.

Unlike their mascara-smeared peers, these guys dress skate-rat casual, but Schulz makes up for what their image lacks in flamboyance with his deranged vocals (think System of a Downís Serj Tankian gone punk). The blasphemous "What I Canít Hear, Touch, Taste, Smell or See Canít Hurt Me" is his most gleeful rant; he slows down and gets sensitive on the cathartic eulogy "Unstoppable." Elsewhere, the band give the finger to the government, the media, and just about everybody else, but they temper their rage with a strong undercurrent of harmonic flash.

(Death by Stereo open for Bleeding Through on Tuesday April 6 at the Palladium in Worcester; call (508) 797-9696.)

BY SEAN RICHARDSON


Issue Date: March 26 - April 1, 2004
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