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Friday, August 08, 2008

CD Review: From Dark - The Answer to Infection

From Dark - The Answer to Infection
2007 From Dark
Ray Van Horn, Jr.



From Dark hails from Phoenix and for a band that initially released their debut album allegedly through their own means, this is a band with serious backing, solid recording equipment and graphics design (much less a clothing line endorsement), plus, most importantly, substantial musicianship which equates into a largely stand-up contemporary metal record with a few revelatory graces and finishes to elevate this band above many of their scraping and clamoring peers.

At first, The Answer to Infection comes out with a standard metalcore yelpfest with the title track, which nearly gives the illusion that From Dark is sadly a one-trick pony. However, immediately thereafter, they dispel such preconceptions and prove there's some substance beneath the agro abuse of their step-heavy rhythm section and the manic wails of vocalist Dustin Bolin, using for example the incorporation of a chamber fugue violin melody (courtesy of guitarist Nelson Land) at the end of the otherwise Filter-esque "Blowtorch and a Pair of Pliers."

While Land also issues Bolin an alter ego clean vocal foil, which presents a bit of a stereotype for this particular genus, they nonetheless work agreeably together on the claustrophobic yet tuneful "The Damned" and the melancholic "A Final Farewell," both well-written songs with a risky stride towards the mainstream. In fact, much of The Answer to Infection has the ingredients for eventual transition to a format hard rock station--if not satellite radio--using songs like "Haunting Eyes" or "Civilization Lost" as a gauge. Perhaps Bolin's raspy bellowing is too over-the-top for FM, but at least From Dark has some heart underneath their rage, which gives their songs a necessary conscience.

Despite the fact From Dark operates in a manner not unlike much of what you've heard before, and while there's but a meager handful of spotty timing squibs or out-of-key notes, The Answer to Infection is a largely-professional debut that implies something commercially viable in their future. Fortunately, From Dark writes their songs outside the box despite a fleeting capacity to adhere to the modern code of the rhythm-disrupting breakdown.

Still, the varying dynamics of "Departed" that whip the song from a monster stomp to a more imploring sense of desperation with drifty syncopation in the song's final third is pretty impressive, as is the gritty and melodic closer, "A Walk Through Madness," co-written by (and presumedly dueted with) Jenna Slate. Gothic at its core, the soaring despondency of "A Walk Through Madness" in which all three voices chime in shows some thoughtfulness into what From Dark is doing, which thankfully makes The Answer to Infection an aptly-named antidote to a wildly-coursing metalcore virus germinating the genre.

Rating: ***1/2

4 comments:

countshockula said...

Isn't that the album cover to the first Killing Joke album?

Anonymous said...

Better not be, those guys paid an artist thousands of dollars to produce that art work!

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

wowzers, lol

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