The Belgians from DEATH BEFORE DISCO are another band who simply refuses to limit their selves to one music style only. While a lot of it revolves around technical Metalcore and similar related styles there are many, many instances where you can expect jazzy parts, acoustic playing, DILLINGER-madness and even playing aimed towards reaching MARS VOLTA Avant-Garde levels (though they are far away from the brilliance of that band).
And to get straight to the point now: had this “Barricades” had a different vocalist or completely different vocal style altogether I would’ve probably hailed this album as brilliant. Ergo, if you do in fact like the singing, this is a great record and thus highly recommended. Alas for me the Belgians showcase the precise style of singing that I deeply despise: semi-poppy Hardcore/Emo with side-trips to the horrid Screamo.
Bitter - for the work of the guitarists and drummer is at times mind-blowing. And there isn’t much wrong with their bassist either. Nearly every song has some awesome guitar riffs; the beginning of “Modern Times” for example, or “Goodbye”. But like I said every song has some intricate melodies and unexpected twists. On top of that the rhythm section is class too, lots of variety, very dynamic.
One song that distinguishes itself from the rest is “Jaguar”, the highlight of the album; nearly nine minutes long where I’ll even take the vocal style for granted. “Jaguar” is a lot calmer then the rest of the album and features superb guitar playing all set in a jazzy soundscape. It is also where the drummer really shines with dynamic jazz fills and some great subtle cymbal sounds. The bassist rings clear alongside this adventurous playing with fine groovy bass-lines.
Other then that particular highlight every song has great playing, perhaps not all the time but enough to keep some demanding listeners happy. It’s just the damned vocalist that ruins everything for me. Had the singing been merely bland or unoriginal it wouldn’t have bothered me but this singing, which I so deeply despise distracts me of the otherwise fine music – completely. But I can’t blame them since these type of vocals are native to the style; it’s just that I don’t expect even a half decent album if the description contains the words Metalcore and Emo. What singing do you want then you ask? Beats me… Extraordinary bands always have extraordinary and unique vocalists; THE MARS VOLTA is the ultimate evidence. Sadly the same cannot be said about DEATH BEFORE DISCO, regardless of all the variety in singing over the songs… (Online October 9, 2006)