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Death for Life

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Album Review

On Death for Life, Death By Stereo continue to fuel their hardcore-derived stutter with the tenets of metal and thrash. Vocalist Efrem Shulz channels hardcore's urgency on "I Give My Life" and "Forget Regret," but the songs also feature stinging guitar solos right out of the heavy metal handbook, and the latter is close to early Faith No More. Even with all of this, as well as Shulz's always overdone vocals, Death for Life is more streamlined than a lot of metalcore records. It's like there needs to be a surplus of manic creativity to get that specialized designation, to the point that songs are a little too crammed with their own ambition. Death By Stereo take the opposite approach. They always incorporate their usual morbidity, metal, and hardcore bite. But they also keep the equation hovering — like a skull perched on a torch — for a unique kind of intensity. "This Curse of Days" puts a foreboding backing chorus behind its lyrics about winter bringing death for a subtle nod to European metal; "Middle Fingers" wavers between an agonizing distortion crawl and explosive choruses ("You're gonna die/We're here to stay" is its message); and "Don't Piss on My Neck and Tell Me It's Raining" fulfills the band's quota for acerbic song titles. "W.W.J.D.?" is probably the closest Death for Life gets to classicist hardcore — it's a hectic Bad Religion-style rocker about the futility of religion in modern society. Death By Stereo can get mired in its own sour grapes. But its feral cross of hardcore and metal influences lives on with passion and volume.


Formed: 1996 in California

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Death by Stereo is an aggressive metal/hardcore hybrid from Southern California, who took its name from a line in the 1987 vampire flick The Lost Boys. The band's lineup underwent numerous changes throughout its careeer, but the guys always persevered with a "never give up, never give in" mantra held close. After getting together in 1996 and releasing a demo and 7", Efrem Shulz (vocals), Paul Miner (bass), Jim Miner (guitar), Keith Barney (guitar) (who'd replaced original guitarist Ian Fowles), and...
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Death for Life, Death By Stereo
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