EP REVIEW: The Better Death - Day of the Death (EP)
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"like a heavyweight fighter"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: The Better Death
EP: Day of the Death
Label: Do For it Records
Genre: Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Ambient Rock
Sounds Like: Queensryche, Radiohead, Tool, Incubus.
Technical Grade: 10/10
Weakness: Winded songs, short sided songs, more guitar solos please
The Better Death is a fascinating 4 piece Alternative Rock band based out of the Dallas, Ft. Worth area. Back when neighbors Ricky Wolking (bass) and Danny Handler (drums) started hammering out grooves that tested their ability, times infinity. Danny’s friend and fellow UNT grad Ed McMahon (guitar) joined the duo soon there after, adding yet another musical mind to the monster. Ricky called on Sean Dailey (vocals) to jump in and find melody amid the complex structures. It was gratifyingly obnoxious as the ongoing experiment eclipsed all previous musical notions. There would be nothing standard about it. How do you feel about leaving this earth at this very moment? Will you have lived a better life? Taking an oath and leaving blood on the floor, electrified. There latest 6 song EP was released in 2013 and comes on a slick USD Flash Drive – impressive and slick looking delivery method to say the least.
The CD kicks things off with Track 1 “Genki” a methodical and dynamic prelude of sorts that’s serves up melodic guitar driven textures, panted against dynamic musical flow and impressive syncopated culmination. This piece leads you head first into Track 2 “Kung Fu Grip” which serves up rock steady rock anthem dishing out impressive musical theatrics painted against melodic vocals and thought provoking lyrical content throughout. Track 3 shifts gears a bit with “Truth in Ruin” a dynamic piece with heartfelt vocal delivery, and aggressive distorted guitar attack that flows and ebbs its way though to emotional fruition. Track 4 “E.G.G” (Everybody Get Gay” keeps things moving with its dynamic guitar, methodical musical movement against a grand slam finale that will make your hair stand on end. As the CD quickly unfolds I can hear influences ranging from Queensryche, Radiohead, Tool and even Incubus. The music has everything you would expect from a dynamic Alternative/Progressive Rock CD, but also touches straight up Ambient/Hard Rock that’s quite dynamic and melodic. The style of the music is highly original and refuses to be pinned down the first listen. The vocals are impressive, compelling and push the emotional envelope and imagination. The guitar ambience is very melodic and dynamic and the musical flow and ebb is highly creative. The overall vocal style works extremely well with the confines of this progressive and dynamic rock catalogue and the intensity and emotions is off the charts. Rhythm section - lays down the low end groove thick as a brick. What I like most about The Better Death is their sheer unpredictability note for note and song for song. By track 4 the CD hits solid stride dishing out many impressive songs in a row. Like a heavy weight boxer the impressive chops and amazing songs keep coming at you one after the other - with no sign of letting up. I also like some of the curve-ball timing changes thrown at the listener throughout. From rocking “Count Darklua” to “Beg for Me” this EP pretty much has something for just about everyone.
It’s had to find any serious weaknesses with an EP of this caliber. Track 2 feels like an incomplete statement to me while others over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line a bit. I honestly wish there were a few more guitar solos throughout. A band of this caliber should showcase more solos overall. I’m not a big fan of Track 5 “Beg for Me”
Day of the Death from The Better Death is an impressive and extremely consistent musical statement from start to finish. Its strength – the strong song for song consistency, progressive dynamics and exotic, strong melodic structure that keep you guessing. The music is progressive, unpredictable, heavy and highly original. Like a heavy weight fighter this CD packs a powerful yet unpredictable punch, and goes the full 12 rounds with no sign of letting up.