Death By Stereo Day of the Death

While Fullerton, CA's Death By Stereo is often lumped together with new school hardcore punk bands like Straight Faced and Sick of It All, they've always been a little different. Their sophomore full-length proves that they stand above the crowd and could properly be considered more a thinking person's hardcore band. Make no mistake, they still have all the requisite elements - the relentless, thrashing beats and chant-along vocals - but on this record, their lyrics and musicianship are what really stand out. More than just railing against authority, they offer up astute observations about their cultural surroundings. And they do it while taking the genre to another level, musically, at times moving backward to do so. The contemporary punk anthems are infused with two-part harmonic guitar riffs and rhythms that sound like they came as a result of spending a lot of time listening to old Iron Maiden, Slayer and Venom records (just check out "Holding 60 Dollars while Standing on a Burning Bridge" and tell me you don't agree). (Epitaph)