Dead to Fall
Are You Serious?

For three albums now, Chicago’s Dead to Fall have to struggling to find their sound, both style and production wise. After seeing and interviewing the band twice now, it became readily apparent that the band, and mainly vocalist Jon Hunt, were never really comfortable with the whole serious deathcore/metalcore image and themes that they plied on their first three albums. You started to see the bands true colors on the video for “Chum Fiesta”, and now on Are You Serious?, starting with the cover art, then the album title, and then the song titles, you can see and eventually hear the style Dead to Fall are comfortable with.

While not a drastic departure from the band’s overall metal sound, the band has now morphed into a far less comfy metalcore sound and developed a more bong resin soaked and party hard sound that comes across the lurching angles of like A Life Once Lost meets the hydro fueled experimentation of Cephalic Carnage.

As if to send off their old sound, opener (after the intro “IQ Test”) “Stupid?” serves to mock metalcore and even their past songs as Hunt bellows “Oh Shit its the death metal riff!”, “End this song with a Fucking Breakdown!” and “This song is really Fucking Stupid!” over the archetypical At The Gates slice and thrash. Then for the rest of the album, we get a more eclectic, programming flocked, hallucinogenic, and less predictable material.

“The Future” is a staggering, spacey trip through atonal lurches and heaving angular riffage that cements the (older) ALOL sound. “Sleeping Bag” mixes harsh thrash with some hazy, off kilter injections and guitar work that highlights the band’s desired evolution. “Major Rager”, one of the albums better cuts, an adrenaline fueled tale of an all night party, that while bringing to mind the bands older style, it has a more humorous lyrical feel, and I can almost see the diminutive Jon Hunt bellowing “lets all do another shot!” and “lets get another case and stay up all fucking night!” amid a Beastie Boys “Fight For Your Right to Party”, trashed party house video.

“Loch Ness” delivers arguably the most mellow song Dead to Fall have penned with almost a stoner doom vibe and delicate, smoky wisps of guitars and programming while “Brainmelter” is yet more mid paced, Cephalic styled off the wall quirkiness. By this point in the album, the direction Dead to Fall has taken has fully rooted as tracks like “Cropgrower”, “Doombox” and closer “Astral Projection/Dream J(ourney)…” are trippy, mind altering slabs of shroom filled weirdness and heft and it appears finally that Dead to Fall have found their niche.

Production wise, after two efforts with an Eric Rachael/Alan Douches tone, Dead to Fall turned to Mike Schleibaum of Darkest Hour, and he has given them a more organic, natural , yet still stern sound that fits there slightly off the wall themes. The end result is an album that may disappoint a lot of the new Dead to Fall kid fans that enjoyed ninja moshing to the likes of “Eternal Gates of Hell”, but personally Dead to Fall are no longer a square peg in a round hole, and seem as comfortable and confident as they as ever been.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 22nd, 2008

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