Bakersfield, California quintet For the Dead strive to be the next big name in modern metal by taking a page out of the 2000s metalcore playbook. Their debut EP Requiem: For the Dead can be found on any streaming platform, trying to cast their net as wide as possible.
The first track, “The Hunt,” opens with vocalist Logan Morris’ drawn-out high-pitched scream over a symphonic guitar line, a formula that will be repeated at the opening of each following track. It then transitions to a familiar metalcore rhythm, reminiscent of early Avenged Sevenfold (Waking the Fallen era). Morris continues with his aggressive vocals, until the bridge, where he breaks out into spoken word, reciting macabre poetry written by an angsty preteen who just discovered Edgar Allen Poe.
Two minutes into the second track, “Wither and Die,” is where they lose me with the introduction of melodic cleans, imitating the style of Howard Jones (formerly of Killswitch Engage) in a higher register. In previous reviews, I have stated my distaste of the aggressive/clean vocal switchback. It was done to death fifteen years ago, and only a handful of bands were able to pull it off without losing their edge. Unfortunately, the melodic cleans become more prominent for here on out, therefore it’s best just to accept it as it is, and instead concentrate on the impressive guitarmonies of Michael Agarano and Randy Calderon.
On the final track “Execution of Will,” a portion of the vocal melody on the chorus suspiciously sounds like it was ripped straight from Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from the Lion King, though with much more depressing lyrics.
So, would I consider this band talented? Yes, but definitely not innovative. It’s something I’ve heard a million times before, and I was never a fan of the subgenre to begin with. But if you never grew out of the trend, and you’ve disagreed with everything you’ve read so far, instead of sending me angry messages, you can support For the Dead by donating to their GoFundMe for a better rehearsal space. Otherwise, just let them fade into obscurity.
Written by Chris Aitkens
*edited by Danielle Kenedy