"some music was meant to stay underground..."

The Demonstration - "Accidents with Intelligence" (CD)

The Demonstration - "Accidents with Intelligence" CD cover image

"Accidents with Intelligence" track listing:

1. A Broadcast To The Breathing
2. The Marionette
3. Deadpan
4. A Very Calculating Snake
5. Car Rides
6. We're All Alone; We're All Lonely
7. Character Flaws
8. From L.A. To Nashville
9. Pretty Bones
10. Acceptance (Wear Your Choices Like A Crown)
11. Golden Hour
12. How's It Going To Be

Reviewed by on April 11, 2009

"The best parts focus on the band’s death and hardcore background while using the pop elements for emphasis and a change of pace. "

One would think that a band whose members mostly come from Killwhitneydead would deliver some strong deathcore with just a few changes as the band tries to separate itself from the previous incarnation. At first listen The Demonstration has simply moved from deathcore to metalcore. After repeated spins, it becomes clear that they have taken the changes and run with them.

The Demonstration is best described as metalcore, but they come from a lot of different places. The core of the music is similar to most metalcore: fast riffs, mid-range screamed vocals, technical guitar solos, frequent breakdowns, and styles borrowed from other metal genres. Moving away from Killwhitneydead they’ve removed the blast beats, guttural death metal style vocals, and the clips from movies and television that KWD loves to use. The Demonstration replaced those elements with clean vocals, choruses, acoustic guitars and actual melodic signing, which combines into music that is noticeably more pop-styled.

Before all the changes are discussed, let’s be clear that the hard parts of this album rip. The albums first song, “A Broadcast to the Breathing,” is almost a one minute long breakdown with staccato, multi-layered guitars riffs and a killer guitar lead. This blends into “The Marionette,” which features double kick drums, more riffs and killer leads, and a good growl from vocalist Zachary Messick. Even the clean vocals here have an edge. The breakdowns are fierce, and the song is metalcore at its best front to back.

The third song “Deadpan” starts the same way, but then about halfway through there is a layered, almost soaring vocal during the chorus that is straight from Euro power metal (sung by a lesser vocalist, admittedly). But then it’s right back to another brutal breakdown. The end of the song, however, is a portent of things to come. The chorus leaves most of the metal behind and sounds like late ‘90s alternative, with basic chord progressions, lots of distortion, straight counted drums and high-pitched sung vocals. Another breakdown ends the song.

As the album progresses, the pop elements become more of the musical focus. Each song features a mixture of metalcore and alternative pop, with the alternative coming to the fore throughout the album. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. “Car Rides” uses the harmonized vocals and stylistic change from metalcore to pop effectively, putting both styles at a counterpoint and emphasizing the brutality and harmony of each part of the song. “We’re All Alone; We’re All Lonely” is just a big whine-fest, and even the heavier parts sound forced. “Character Flaws” is a nice heavy blaster. “From L.A. to Nashville” tries to mix the two styles and fails, sounding like angry teenagers wailing in a garage. The last song, a cover of Third Eye Blind’s “How’s It Going to Be” tries to inject some hardcore ferocity into a pretty tame number, but it just doesn’t work. “Pretty Bones” is a great metalcore romp with some clean singing that spruces it up just a bit more.

All in all, The Demonstration succeeds much more than they fail. While every song might not be a front to back classic, there are enough good parts on the album to make it great. Guitarists Rob Gabriella and David Shoaf are on display throughout and do not disappoint, with blazing solos and meaty riffs. Drummer Peter Jackson could do with some more subtly, but he tries really hard and gets a pass. Vocalist Messick delivers a fine performance, with both dirty and clean vocals on point. The band sounds cohesive, probably due to their time together in KWD, as the tempo, rhythm, and style changes are easy and flawless.

The best parts focus on the band’s death and hardcore background while using the pop elements for emphasis and a change of pace. The songs that focus on the alternative and pop stuff tend to fall flat. However, the direction the band is going is certainly fresh in the metalcore genre, and with just a little refinement The Demonstration will be showing everyone how to rock.

Highs: The metalcore spiced up with late ‘90s alternative rocks.

Lows: The band often loses their way and finds themselves playing pop.

Bottom line: An excellent album that introduces a fresh new style of metalcore.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)