Killswitch Engage, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Every Time I Die
Metalcore representative Killswitch Engage combines a blitzkrieg bottom end that hunts with the springing fury of Pantera, labyrinthine Scandinavian metal melodicism, and agile yet sophisticated structures that showcase the band's hooks with more enthusiasm than a high school trophy case. The band's sound is anchored by Berklee College of Music alumni Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel on guitar, and the alternately screaming/soaring vocals of Howard Jones (no relation to the Eighties pop star). Though the sound is much minted, few acts deliver it with the precision or panache evidenced on the Massachusetts quintet's latest album, As Daylight Dies. — Chris Parker
Meanwhile, Dillinger Escape Plan's recent work bears many of the band's trademarks: hyperventilating vocals, pneumatic drumming, and guitars that shriek like baby seals being clubbed to death. The difference this time is that now they're all grounded in discernible songs rather than formless freakouts set to a beat. Yeah, vocalist Greg Puciato sounds more like Mike Patton than Mike Patton did on the former Faith No More frontman's 2002 collaboration with Dillinger — but with a touch of ashen melody, percolating electronics, and songs about werewolves named Sunshine. — Jason Bracelin
The third act on the bill, Every Time I Die, is ostensibly a hardcore band: Witness its mortality-referencing moniker and the slow-down segments it serves, in strict compliance with the two-breakdown minimum of modern hardcore tunes. But the group also incorporates Southern metal's rhythmic grooves and garage rock's cocky swagger — and its breakdowns are so glacial and the songs surrounding them so manic (all instruments race, not just the drums) that the contrast toys with time. The results resemble a playful Pantera, or Refused, if clever wordplay ("We've applied mascara to the radio/But that's just a quick fix") replaced revolutionary rhetoric. Still, in a genre stocked with calculated crossover acts, Every Time I Die seems like an organic amalgam of incendiary influences. — Andrew Miller
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