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Two Angels and a Dream

Depswa

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Album Review

Depswa is yet another California combo to wade in the grunge and nü metal morass that oozed all over radio and MTV after the breakout success of Linkin Park and P.O.D. It's these groups that Depswa references most on its Geffen debut, along with frequent nods to the Deftones. But despite the LP's tendency to sound like what has been heard before, there's still some solid, if not particularly groundbreaking, songwriting happening on Two Angels and a Dream. Jeremy Penick's vocals don't lean fully on established styles (i.e., the monotone moan, the singsong rap yelp). Rather, he fluctuates between traditional metal vocalism and the quiet-loud dynamic favored by nü metallurgists. Likewise, his mates change up their instrumental approach enough to avoid the sound-alike tag, even if, in the end, Two Angels doesn't stray too far from the established formula of success. (After all, producer Howard Benson helmed P.O.D.'s Satellite.) The title track is built around a surprisingly introspective guitar line and builds to an urgent, exploding chorus with the aid of backing vocals that intertwine with Penick's before harmonizing with him on the title-line payoff. Despite being mixed by go-to pro Chris Lord-Alge to pop with the same effect as previous post-grunge radio hits, the song's furious changes still retain vestiges of California's hardcore tradition. "From the Inside" is almost a carbon copy of the title track and is just as faithful to the P.O.D. gospel. Nevertheless, it's a solid cut that displays some real talent on the part of Penick and his mates Dan Noonan (guitar), Ryan Burchfield (bass), Gordon Heckaman (drums), and James Mills (guitar). "Charades" features some of the most brutal breaks on the record but is marred by brooding, slow bridges that don't add the depth the band no doubt hoped they would. "Silhouette," however, is more accurate, and "Prom Song" and first single "This Time" are standouts that teeter on the positive side of genre similarity. As the nü metal trend continued to unfold, the influence of first-generation sleaze metal like Korn and Limp Bizkit has been nullified somewhat, in favor of the articulated emotion and more adventurous instrumentation of the aforementioned second wave. Here in its third cycle, it's difficult even for the innovators (Staind, etc.) to remain vital. What does this mean for Depswa? Despite Two Angels and a Dream's ultimate similarity to its peers, the album's ability to retain a glimmer of the band's own voice marks it as an effective debut in a genre dominated by gray area.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Alternative metal combo Depswa got started in mid-'90s Modesto, CA, when vocalist Jeremy Penick and bassist Ryan Burchfield collaborated in a band called Carcinogen. While that group had begun to build a name for itself with a series of well-received gigs in the Bay Area and a self-titled EP, by 1999 Penick and Burchfield had moved to L.A., added guitarist Dan Noonan, and renamed the project Depswa. The new lineup debuted in 2000 with the Faithless EP, and began to build an audience for its hard-hitting...
Full bio
Two Angels and a Dream, Depswa
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  • €10.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Hard Rock, Metal
  • Released: 08 April 2003

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