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Video Dead – Damn Disco
Damn Disco - Union 2112 Records
Burlington, Ontario natives The Video Dead have been quietly gaining momentum in the hardcore scene since inception eight years ago. Admittedly, it’s been a long journey, but they’re finally receiving the recognition they deserve. The band’s third full length, Damn Disco, serves as their Union Label Group debut, marking the first time the band has joined up with a reputable indie label – an odd reality since they command a tight sound sure to find acceptance among the hungry Bridge Nine Records crowd.
Further making their long journey a head scratcher is their clear embrace of both melodic punk and hardcore. Unlike the bulk of bands out there, The Video Dead refuses settling on a single guiding influence. Vocalist Ben Rispin could easily appeal to tough as nails hardcore fans who love 80’s inspired hardcore bands like Killing Time or Death Before Dishonor, just as easily as he could appeal to punk rockers idolizing the raspy melodic hardcore voice of Strike Anywhere’s Thomas Barnett. When the band sides with melody they pump out borderline anthemic choruses – like the energetic gang vocal moments empowering “Cry Me A Rivers Cuomo” and “Did He Die Of A Broken Heart?” Other times, tracks like “Guilty” channel melodic breakdowns amidst an uncompromising vocal assault with a strictly made-for-the-mosh-pit aura.
There’s no question, Damn Disco is made for those who love their music loud. The band barely gives listeners a chance for recovery between songs – even intros and bridges feel hard and heavy. “Shoot The Messenger” may only open with a bassline, but what’s there feels thick and no less aggressive than anything by guitarists Greg Fisher or Matt Richmond.
The Video Dead keep up the intensity from start to finish, but for the back half of the album’s thirteen tracks punk rock dominates the spotlight. For tracks like “Taxadermy” and “They Gave It All” the tempo increases and melody takes hold. The former in particular features vocal tradeoffs between band members, while the later plays with melodic choruses. But no sooner than the band scales back their intensity does “See You In Hell” come screaming in, reassuring listeners with a sub-minute, thrash fueled frenzy.
The Video Dead recently released their entire back catalogue as a free download on Juicebox records. But even with that extensive wealth of free tracks, fans of melodic hardcore and punk are going to want to check out Damn Disco first. It may have taken a while for The Video Dead to find a great home, but with their Union Label Group debut they’re finally poised to break into the broader hardcore underground. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Damn Disco is their best effort to date.