Alternative music reviews

October 6, 2005

The Dawning by Stereotactic

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Stereotactic are your typical screamo hardcore / emo crossover American band – but this lot are really great at what they do. There are loads of bands of similar ilk, so what makes the ‘The Dawning’ album stand out? Well, the answers would be good production, concisely played guitars, tight melodic dynamics combined with shouty moments and enough modern reference points (Snapcase, Funeral For A Friend) to appeal to the modern teenager.

This Bakersfield, California band (also home of Korn) manages to write plentiful pounding minor-key chords, some loud cymbal-crashes and a singer with better than average dynamic range. With this type of genre, it’s very easy to concentrate on the aggression and churning out fast, noisy guitar notes. It is a good job Stereotactic also spent some of their time on the song-writing process, constructing catchy rock tunes like ‘Selfishness’ to bring a little depth to the table amongst the head-crunchers like ‘Dead Man’. With hints of Jimmy Eat World in the melodic vocals from Kyle and even some guitar solos akin to ex-Gun’s N’ Roses Slash, ‘The Dawning’ is a soup of influences, some classic rock, but mostly inspired by the burgeoning hardcore scene. It’s difficult not to think of other bands throughout ‘The Dawning’, but the opinion remains, this is very proficient hardcore, played well and with enough bountiful energy to satisfy rock urges.

Many bands want to display their sensitive side and Stereotactic are no different, ‘Lost And Found’ is laden with strings and sentiment, which thankfully doesn’t come across and trite and laboured. This quietness only lasts three minutes anyway and a distinctively Slash type solo bursts out and brings the song back into “rawk” territory. With Todd (again, no surname) providing backing vocals, there are occasional pairing off of lines as ‘Put It In Ink’ demonstrates – the song title probably a reference to their record contract. Album closer ‘Sweet Denial… With A Taste Of Revenge’ is one of the highlights, the lyric “one shot, right between the eyes” becoming a good hooky moment.

There’s not much more that can be said, the songs do merge into sameness after a while, which is down to the genre’s limitations, but in closing, Stereotactic have put out a very commendable album.

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Review by Nick Collings

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