After listening to the first track of “Vices,” I questioned myself. Did I put in the wrong CD? The vocals and the sound did not resemble the Dead Poetic I know. Unfortunately it is not the same band I have been listening to since high school.
After unavoidable troubles nearly a year and a half ago, the band reassembled. Vocalist Brandon Rike and guitarist Zach Miles, the two remaining members, were joined by drummer Jesse Sprinkle (Poor Old Lu and Demon Hunter) and former Beloved members Dusty Redmon (guitar) and John Brehm (bass).
I found myself waiting and waiting and waiting for Rike to scream out just a few lyrics, but breaking away from what was expected of them, the band opted for straight singing. They have de-evolved from a supposed “screamo” band to your basic 90s rock ‘n’ roll. They offer smoother guitars, straightforward melodies, and sustained vocals instead of the darker melodies, distorted yet intricate riffs and the disorderly screams. Letting go of the vices of the genre they decided to bring something new. Add water to Blindside, blend in a pinch of Further Seems Forever, and you’ll get a tiny taste for what this album sounds like.
The tracks were not as explosive as the last CD nor as melodic as their debut; this is something Dead Poetic fans are not prepared for. Track five, “In Coma” was the dividing point of the set. As the CD spun I found myself closing my eyes and swaying my head, getting into the trance of the song. The haunting melodies made me sit, listen, and think about the brutal honesty they laid before me.
The second movement of the album featured songs like, “Self Destruct & Die,” “Sinless City,” and “Paralytic.” These pieces beckon you deeper into the melody, take your hand, and smack you with the cold reality of a man who doesn’t want to hide himself anymore. The music and vocals may have gotten an obvious make over, but the vocals are as powerful as ever. Rike sings of guilt, pain, lust, addiction, fears of failure, insecurity and the like. These vices have been dragged out into the cold, exposed and made into the inspiration of this album.
Concluding the album with the monumental finale, “Vices,” Dead Poetic sheds their skin and gets down to the core of their heart confessing, professing that they “got Vices like any other man.” You get a deeper look into what they were trying to say in their albums “Four Wall Blackmail” and “New Medicines.” The man behind the mask is revealed; the listener is left with revelation that anyone can relate with. The message is clear: We all have our vices, we all have our sins, but after the stage is set, Jesus is the only heart you ever need.
I met this album with skepticism but soon feel in love with this rawness of the rock ‘n’ roll. I recommend the album to anyone who is a fan of original musicianship. To truly appreciate this band and their journey so far, I suggest you go out and buy their first two albums to add to your music collection.