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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Album Review: But We Try It - Dead Lights

So, The Matrix Trilogy. Now there was a high-concept project that set new standards with its innovative approach, incredible action sequences and stunning effects. Sadly, it’s legacy is rather hampered by its intricate and increasingly ludicrous storylines which tied everything up in knots leaving us with an overwhelming sense of disappointment. The reason for my retrospection is Germany’s But We Try It. They too have big ideas, pile in as much action into their music as possible and can do it to stunning effect. I’ve set things up nicely for there to be a down side, but I’ll get to that later.

Combining thrash, hardcore and melodeath, BWTI are a powerful cocktail of Darkest Hour, After The Burial, In Flames and Despised Icon served up with an eye-bulging Red Bull mixer. On top of all this, you’ll find plenty of punk moxie in their debut album. It fires out like a fist from tracks like “Bloodritual” and “Embracing Darkness” giving them an extra bite. It’s a big, big sound and from the dual action vocal (one an abrasive bellow, the other a scouring scream) to the grunt of the chug and the visceral clarity of the shred, it’s all delivered with the force of a wrecking ball.

Perhaps this determination to pile everything in at once is partly down to the folks at Woodhouse Studios, in Hagen, Germany, who helped birth this beast – producer Waldemar Sorychta (Enemy of the Sun, Sentenced) and mix-master Siggi Bemm (Caliban, Samael). Both have plenty of experience producing wall-of-sound albums and Dead Lights can get pretty chocka.

The first three tracks here are manifestly dominant with much that follows failing to ignite in the same manner. Too often there are lumps of uninspired songwriting that leak out (much like those Matrix scripts, eh?) merely mimicking the band’s European forebears. It is filler that will all to readily get lost amongst peers that are doing much the same, only better. Take “City Of Ghosts” which bounces you from pillar to post with Swedish death metal chord structures, finger-taps and, even, wordplay. Compare that to “Dead Lights II – The Path To New Hope”, loaded with addictive lyrics and expansive melodics, or “The Great Disaster” with its monster gang chants, clean vocal harmonies and bombardment of breaks, leads and mighty, mighty bass. These labyrinthine tracks are an utter revelation that work on so many levels – the latter will have you banging your head so hard it may just part from your shoulders.

Jörn Preidt (I like to think of him as a heavy metal Neo) is listed as the sole vocalist, despite the multiple and overlapping styles. He most certainly dominates everything with his shrieking vocal – he’s even described as sounding “like a dying pig” by his own bassist Stefan Trautmann. Have a listen to his grating Dalek vocal at the start of “Everything Falls Apart” and tell me that’s not a step too far. It’s a full-scale war between vocal parts and they overwhelm all too often. Their one saving grace is the clarity with which they are delivered – you can understand virtually every word and that’s a definite plus.

But We Try It are, without a doubt, trying hard, and their album could well be a bit of a grower. I’d bet my Morpheus action figure, if they focus on raging heavy and writing complex in the future, they could well become a real force. Right now, their inconsistency is driving me nuts much like The Matrix Trilogy drives me nuts, but then I keep on going back to view that again and again in the vain hope that it will get better “this time”. You should do the same with BWTI.

Also online (with free samples) @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/but-we-try-it-dead-lights

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