Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dead By Sunrise album review

Dead By Sunrise
Out of Ashes
(Warner Bros.)

Musical catharsis can result in really powerful songs. Out of Ashes, the debut from Dead By Sunrise, is a prime example. The band finds Chester Bennington working alongside Julien-K and Orgy members, in what was originally conceived as a solo album while he on hiatus from Linkin Park in 2005. The group’s moniker refers to a period when Bennington was so wasted that surviving to see another day was uncertain. Unlike Linkin Park, there are no hip-hop influences. Instead, Dead By Sunrise mixes electronic (four musicians handle synthesizer/programming), grunge and alternative elements with melodic vocal layering and harmonies.

While producer Howard Benson tends to make modern rock bands sound generic, the music here is compelling enough to make these guys stand out. Bennington’s lyrics revolve around battling personal demons and finding a way to make it to the other side.

On harrowing first single “Crawl Back In,” he wails about the effects of drug and alcohol addiction, sings to crunching guitars about “voices inside my head/why wont they leave me alone.” Fast-paced “My Suffering,” with skittering sounds, is also about dependency and Bennington lets out in a primal scream at the end.

Not everything is bleak though. Acoustic guitar-based “Into You” has a dreamy sexiness, “Walking in Circles” concerns an apathetic society and boasts a quiet ambience with lush keyboards. Then there’s the marital bliss of “Give Me Your Name,” featuring an uplifting chorus and weepy guitar sound a la Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”

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