First things first: Dissonance's Deathlily is good. All 10 songs are catchy, passionate and radio-playable. Vocalist Gnatty James turns in a stellar performance, mixing emotive melodies with throaty screams, and the guitar playing is tuneful if far from stunning.
The band also shows off some nice though redundant songwriting chops. Gentle verses (always) give way to raging distortion, none of the sections suffers needless repetition and the occasional time shift adds variety. The lyrics dwell too much on Apoor me@ themes from the >90s, but they're well written and passable as poetry.
That said, the band can't stand out in the crowded field of heavy alternative rock. Despite occasional moments of brilliance B the furious chorus to "Birth of Cries," all of "God Brother," the three-minute piano outro that closes the album B Deathlily is, in the end, a pretty solid Chevelle knockoff with more yelling.
Almost everything that rocks about Dissonance, Chevelle did first. James, while talented, even sounds a bit like Pete Loeffler..Guitarist Muc certainly works in more melody, innovation and riffing than Loeffler ever could, but it's not hard to tell where the overall style and lurches in dynamics come from.
Dissonance is the kind of band that can work up an enviable fan base before fading into obscurity. There's nothing particularly wrong with derivative music when it's well done B Deathlily is great for rocking out to after work, and the band would probably be fun to see live. They could even branch out on subsequent records and stick around for awhile; remember how Stabbing Westward gradually broke out of the Nine Inch Nails mold.
For now, though, the whole operation is covered in another band's shadow.
Robert VerBruggen (http://robertsratoinale.blogspot.com) is an apprentice editor at The National Interest and an antiMusic contributor.