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Dead Letter Circus - This Is The Warning (Album Review)

Sunday, 17 July 2011 Written by Rob Sleigh
Dead Letter Circus ‘This is the Warning’ (Album Review)

Having already earned themselves a Number One album in their native Australia and supported the likes of Muse and Linkin Park over on that side of the planet, Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus finally made it over to our own humble shores for a quick visit earlier this month. The short run of shows provided the band with the chance to introduce us to their debut album ‘This is the Warning’ following its UK release, over a year since its original unveiling back home in sunny Oz. Like fellow Antipodean rockers Karnivool and Cog, Dead Letter Circus have opted to pursue a similar brand of prog-metal in the vein of American heavyweights like Tool, Deftones and The Mars Volta. ‘This is the Warning’ deservedly achieves such categorisation and helps to place Dead Letter Circus in the worldwide arena alongside alt-rock’s most notable big players.

With album opener ‘Here We Divide’, ‘This is the Warning’ begins like a more melodic and energetic Tool, capturing the ambition of the band’s main influences while adding an element of almost pop-punk vigour to the track. ‘One Step’ adds an electronically-inspired presence to its forerunner’s splendour before transforming into a floaty, epic-sounding rock track enhanced by the elaborately progressive nature of the band’s performance. Vocalist Kim Benzie’s impressively dramatic singing style often pushes the band more towards the pop-rock sound of the aforementioned Linkin Park rather than some of the more heavier influences present in Dead Letter Circus’s music. ‘Big’ is a particularly good example of this, with its elaborate blend of synths, programmed beats and strikingly spectacular live drumming. Drummer Luke Williams’s expertly-performed stickwork gels to frequent perfection with the album’s regular use of more psychedelic-sounding electronic techniques.

ImageAll in all, ‘This is the Warning’ is an impressive body of work from Australia’s newest hopefuls and there are plenty of good reasons here for fans of Linkin Park and the like to carry Dead Letter Circus into the world of internationally-recognised alternative rock contenders. Unfortunately, the album does lack a certain degree of lasting value and is therefore unlikely to succeed where previous frontrunners of this domain have managed to move forward. In order to create a more permanent and distinguishing impression, Dead Letter Circus will need to depend more on their own resourcefulness – which they have occasionally proved here – and less on the previous example of others.

Stereoboard Rating: 6/10

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