DEATH IS MY ONLY FRIEND by DEATH BY STEREO (Serjical Strike Records)
With the release of Death Is My Only Friend, Death By Stereo is mixing up punk and hardcore with a few surprise twists thrown in. On the kick-off track Opening Destruction, you’ll find raw belted vocals; Efrem Schulz, lead vocalist, shifts between styles throughout the instrumentation, but you can feel the tension.
The lyrics on the CD contain angst and political commentary. Efrem’s vocals are deeper on this CD. He tends to try different things with his voice. He even uses a megaphone, which makes him sound like a powerful dictator. In tracks Welcome to the Party and We Sing Today for a Better Tomorrow, it’s the sound that this band is known for; punk rock mixed with slight metalcore influences.
The song I Got Your Back features intense varied metal solos. These solos go from low crunching metalcore, to high, piercing full on metal. Slowing things down is the song Forever And A Day that flows with a moody goth feel.
For those who look for a bit of everything, Death Is My Only Friend is enjoyable. Interesting too is when Elfrem vocals go back and forth with a choir in the song Let Down And Alone – a great track for sure. The added higher screaming backups are nice among the CD too.
A mixed bag of tricks are up this band’s sleeve, keeping the listeners anticipating as to what’s coming up next from this Orange County band. The record is produced really well. With the orchestration combined with the special arrangements in the vocals, Death By Stereo are heading for a higher gain with this album.
(Review by Jonathan D. Wright)