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Dead to Fall -Villany & Virtue
By Mark Hensh

Dead to Fall, the Chicago metalcore act, explode in typical metalcore fashion on their second record, Villany & Virtue. The issue with a CD by a band like this is that for it isn't groundbreaking, but rather familiar. For some people much more cynical about metalcore then me, this will be a major turnoff upon hearing this album. For people who can handle less adventuresome metalcore on the grounds that it's still competent, this is a good CD. It doesn't do anything that hasn't been done so far in this genre, and like tons of metal/hardcore crossover acts these days, there is a definite influence of Swedish death metal on the hardcore sound that for older metalcore fans might run the risk of sounding redundant.

If that sounded bad, don't fret just yet. This is a solid and stable album; lovers of the genre, scene kids, and even metalcore collectors (if there is such a thing) will appreciate this album. For a band that has only given us its second album, it is a sweet diamond-in-the-rough style release. 

"Torn Self" is a largely forgettable example of modern metalcore with some nice Swedish riffs towards the end. "Bastard Set of Dreams" switches back-and-forth between sweet breakdowns, solid riffage, and frontman John Hunt's manic growls. The song ends with a mellow little bit of guitars that sounds like air freezing into oxygen crystals. It is a simply stunning piece that caught me a bit off guard. 

"Stand Your Ground" rolls in with some grind riffs and is a headbanging little tune that would be fun to crank a V8 engine to while racing. "You've Already Died" tackles it's grim title with some sinisterly mellow chords before exploding in Swedish metalcore that will have diehards everywhere salivating for more. 

Title track "Villany & Virtue" is a solid riffer with a sweet sense of death metal grooves. The instrumental "Little Birds" is a somber little set of effects, which leads one into an album highlight in the punishing "Blood of the Moon." This track rolls in with the lingering effects of the last song and a killer drum beat, before imploding with genius metalcore fury. 

"Cross Section" is an odd little fuzzy track that is kind of surprising and fun; I like it, and though it isn't the best thing, it does stand out in a weird little way on this CD. "Master Exploder" is anarchic metalcore with riffs, breakdowns, clashing symbols, and growls flying around one's ears like a sadistic blizzard. The stunning "Epilogue" is a largely vocal-less track with some nice thrash solos and riffs. Simply grand.

The central theme of this disc is a conflicted set of both, well, Villany & Virtue. The Villany appears to be the crushing, relentless, pounding metal-tinged hardcore that made Dead to Fall famous in the genre. The Virtue is the odd and off-kilter effects, fuzz, and instrumentals that are soothing, sinister, and dare-I-say-it lovely. These two polar opposites give the CD an interesting vibe, which makes up for the fact that is a little bit of innovation involved in making it. Despite the fact it isn't the most fresh of sounds, this CD is powerful, tight, and concise, and as a fan of the metal/hardcore genres, that is more then enough in my book.
 



CD Info 

Dead to Fall -Villany & Virtue
Label: Victory Records
Rating:
 
Tracks:
1. Torn Self
2. Bastard Set of Dreams
3. Stand Your Ground
4. You've Already Died
5. Villany & Virtue
6. Little Birds
7. Blood of the Moon
8. Cross Section
9. Master Exploder
10. Epilogue
 
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