Die Young "Graven Images" CDPosted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2007 @ 7:21am » permalink
Despite the band having released several EP's and a full-length prior, "Graven Images" is my first true exposure to the prolific Texas hardcore outfit Die Young (on Eulogy Recordings). And while I was fairly certain that I would enjoy the album – which crams an impressive 15 succinctly focused tracks into about 25 minutes – I had no idea that it would be as inspired and powerful as it is. You never know what to expect from a metal-tinged hardcore band whose frontman calls himself "The Rev. White Devil", but in this case all of the anger, frustration, and aggression is shockingly well-intentioned and directed. Hell, the booklet even intersperses the lyrics with a slew of insightful quotes from George Orwell, Jack Kerouac, Freud, and Shakespeare, among numerous others, so there's a hell of a lot to be said with this one.
Musically it's a fairly straightforward attack of heavy, energetic hardcore that keeps the metal influences very much under control in terms of tossing in some extra chunkiness and groove to the rhythms – only occasionally venturing beyond the standard chord formations and arrangements of this niche of the genre for more varied and creative explorations (some of which start to flirt with some melodic attributes). While there's a certain Catharsis-esque ferocity to the vocal performance, the core of the songwriting is definitely more rooted in traditional hardcore – granted this is very far from some "old school" throwback. Straight up, fast, three-chord hardcore does rear its head here and there, but overall it's more of a Ringworm meets Madball fusion in many respects. Though, given the lyrical angle, they definitely switch up that whole vibe, too. But the great thing about their handling of that aspect is that it's intelligent and artistic without a single ounce of the pomposity or self-righteous bullshit that so often accompanies such socio-politically driven content:
He sprayed his brains upon the wall – another masterpiece. May he rest in peace… Behind flimsy facades of safety, comfort and luxury, their hearts hearken the call of siren songs in their secret dreams to lust and squander all. When the last horizon is reached, the final challenge won, what then will fill the void of at last being content? Glut yourselves, there's no escape from the pain. How many lives have been betrayed by American Dreams? The obituary reads: Another wealthy man paints his masterpiece. Why is it that those who sleep on the streets would rather live to see another day? We need the struggle to survive.
The recording kicks ass, too: Nice and balanced with a killer bass tone and natural sounding percussion to boot. So, yeah… all that, plus a killer layout. And they close the booklet with the statement, "If you bought this album because Jesus is on the cover, the joke's on you!" Awesome. I'm sold.
This one's just hitting the streets today, and is quite clearly recommended from this end, so… show some support and fuckin' pick one up: