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Into the Valley of Death

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Album Review

Death by Stereo's Into the Valley of Death picks up where 2002's Day of the Death left off. The band marries metal's neck-snapping, double-bass rhythms to the consciousness (or just plain anger) of punk and hardcore, pummeling themselves and the listener with serious intensity. Opener "The Plague" is as scary as its title. After a foreboding instrumental intro, the song explodes into lockstep hardcore behind the half-sung, half-screamed vocals of Efrem Schultz. Throughout the album, it's Schultz's over-sung, yet oddly convincing vocal presence that unites Death by Stereo's concurrent metal and punk rock influences. If the question of what Iron Maiden and Agnostic Front would sound like as one band was ever raised, this band answers it. But despite its aggressive sound, Death by Stereo has always peppered its albums with satirical humor. Into the Valley of Death continues this tradition, with songs like "I Wouldn't Piss in Your Ear if Your Brain Was on Fire," "Wake Up, You're Dead," and "You're a B******t Salesman With a Mouthful of Samples." Subtlety is definitely not in Death by Stereo's arsenal. And Into the Valley of Death's Molotov cocktail of high-speed metal riffing, anthemic call-and-response vocals, and toilet-bowl humor holds definite appeal for fans of SoCal punk, from the Descendents all the way through to Pennywise.

Biography

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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Into the Valley of Death, Death By Stereo
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