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01. Blame the Architects
02. Walking, Diseased
04. Past of a Saint (We Were Thieves)
05. Part IV (Sinner's Failure)
06. Hell Can Wait
Reviewed by: Nick
// Published: 11/17/2010
Since the band's start in 2004, Killing the Dream has always been at the head of the pack. Even when my interest in straightforward hardcore periodically wanes (like clockwork, it would appear), it's never too far gone that it can't be revived by a tightly executed recipe of burly guitars, fast punk drumming, and believably pissed off vocals. So while Killing the Dream has always fit snuggly within that common definition of Deathwish-style modern hardcore, their ability to breathe life back into the genre with the aforementioned combination is almost unsurpassed.
This year's release, Lucky Me, features all of those trademark hardcore elements, but with a noticeable step down the emotive songwriting path. Lead off track, "Blame the Architects," starts off predictably forceful and emphatic, yet quickly leans to the melodic side as the vocals sport a sort of half-singing-half-screaming delivery (as heard briefly in the last track of Fractures). Luckily, Eli Horner's stellar scream still drives the majority of the record, but one should expect an intermittent peppering of this relatively new territory throughout the disc. Fast forward to the one minute mark and the track has descended into a very calm, clean interlude with a tasteful strings accompaniment. When it finally erupts into a massive climax for the final minute, we've successfully made it through a microcosm of the new direction of Killing the Dream: fewer moments of traditional metallic hardcore; more steps into the slightly slower, almost cinematic realm (as cinematic as hardcore can get, of course); and some vocals that, quite frankly, can get a little spotty.
The last aspect is the one that is the most troubling. "Testimony" explores this new direction to a degree more extreme than the rest of the disc and ultimately crashes and burns. It has been ages since I've had such a wildly bipolar reaction to a record, but when the track switches to clean vocals (presumably from a guest spot) and then to a horridly screechy style of singing (presumably from a guest spot filled by an Alternative Press fan raffle), I lose faith in everything. It occupies such a tiny portion of the record, but it is so infuriatingly grating and out of place that I'm left speechless.
To the bitter old men out there who still believe in the sanctity of the album and the need for every track to please: Lucky Me is a surprise heartburn attack waiting to happen. A disc of seven tracks totaling nineteen minutes does not have any room for such blatantly rough patches. For everyone else more forgiving: Lucky Me is a musically confident step for Killing the Dream, but it's weighed down by a few iffy moments on the vocals and one glaring moment that will need to be skipped each and every time.
Bottom Line: The sweeping melody and emotive instrumentation of Lucky Me is a respectable step forward for Killing the Dream. The infrequent, but severely polarizing mistakes in the vocals department are not. So it goes.
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