CD Review 

Meet your maker: Death by Stereo

Metal melodies abound from these SoCal hardcore kings. Don't let the CD cover art of Death by Stereo's Death for Life fool you. Despite the 80s-metal-never-died skulls and Gothic fonts, these guys are the real deal, mixing hardcore sturm und drang with inventive flourishes and-dare I say it-melody.

Those seeking their daily allowance of headbanging need not worry; the quintet fires up with "Binge/Purge," a thumper that starts with the obscure Buddhist chant "Death for life" and never lets up. Things stay crunchy through "Entombed We Collide," a fiery ode to murder ... or love (kinda hard to tell which). After the intriguing ballad "Forever and a Day," where Efrem Schulz alternates between singing and leather-lunged roaring, things crank back up with "This Curse of Days," and that's where they stay, except for the beginning to the well-named "Don't Piss On My Neck And Tell Me It's Raining."

What I like about these guys is they're not afraid to experiment. From cheesy handclaps in "Forget Regret" to the "nyah-nyah" quality of the backing vocals in "Middle Fingers," Death by Stereo shows the guts to stretch and reach for something new within their oeuvre. Glorious deafness awaits.

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