Big changes can be found on the third album by the US boys of DEAD POETIC, and those who loved the first two albums because of their distinct screamo parts will probably be somewhat disappointed with “Vices” at first. This disappointment should vanish after the disc’s second spin, though. All those elements which contributed to the success of the second effort “New Medicines” (Solid State Records 2004), but which also put DEAD POETIC into a category they never wanted to be in have been removed. However, the stylistic changes are also due to the fact that the line-up has been changed, with “Vices” featuring some fresh blood in the form of Jesse Sprinkle (drums and ex-member of DEMON HUNTER, SERENE and POOR OLD LU), John Brehm (bass and ex-BELOVED musician) and Dusty Redmon (guitar and ex-BELOVED member, too). If you take a closer look at it, it basically is miracle that DEAD POETIC recorded another album in the first place, after all the original line-up broke apart shortly after the release of “New Medicines” and the fear that that would be the end of this hopeful band was not unjustified.
The dead poets are back now, stronger than ever and full of modern Rock which reminds you of the hey-day of Grunge with bands like PEARL JAM, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and Co. but which also cites cult bands such as TOOL or A PERFECT CIRCLE (especially when it comes to the vocals, reminiscences to Maynard James Keenan shine through time and again) or the DEFTONES (Chino Moreno contributed to the songs “Crashing Down” and “Paralytic”). All those influences do not make DEAD POETIC as predictable as it may seem, for the result is an absolutely original and captivating one. “Vices” abounds in ideas, emotions, expression and honesty, something you do not find too often today. The disc’s fourteen songs go through all kinds of emotions and allows the emotions of vocalist Brandon Rike and the other four members to run free. The songs are miles away from being mellow or half-hearted material, though.
Heavier sounds can be heard on the opener „Cannibal vs. Cunning”, “Lionless”, “Long Forgotten”, “Pretty Pretty” or “The Victim”, for example, and those songs really show what DEAD POETIC have changed and which influences were dropped, compared to “New Meidicnes” and “Four Wall Blackmail” (also Solid State Records, 2002). “Vices” rocks so much, it is a real pleasure, with the tracks staying listenable for a long time without losing anything of their charisma and intensity, no matter how often you listen to the album. As a suitable counterpart, emotionally deep songs such as “Sinless City”, “Paralytic”, “Animals” or “Crashing Down” were put on the third effort. This is where DEAD POETIC show what great goals they are able to accomplish outside of heavy Rock without losing their face because of a lack of heaviness. Absolutely amazing!
So the quintet from Dayton, Ohio should have managed to please both long-time fans and listeners who have never heard of DEAD POETIC before. To me, “Vices” is the first real surprise of the young year of 2007, and if things continue like this, there is another glorious year for Metal and Rock ahead of us. When it comes to DEAD POETIC, the omens are great. In this spirit… buy this or at least give it a try.
(Online February 17, 2007)