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Dead Men Dreaming - "Impure Thoughts" (CD/EP)

No cover art found for Dead Men Dreaming - "Impure Thoughts" CD/EP

"Impure Thoughts" track listing:

1. Chemicals
2. Your Last Day
3. Odds Against
4. Upside Down
5. Impure Thoughts

Reviewed by on August 6, 2009

"Singer Mike Triana has a great sense of melody and uses his vocal range well. The vocals are clean, crisp, and oh-so-perfectly double-tracked in some of the choruses. "

Delivering punk-infused metal with a pop sheen, Dead Men Dreaming's "Impure Thoughts" effortlessly blends rock genres to create music that would be equally home in both drive-time radio, your local skate park, and a club mosh pit.

The band may be five guys from New York, but the first sound you hear on "Chemicals," the disc's opener, is a left-coast beach rock riff that reminded me of something you'd hear on a Sheryl Crow album. Then, the song shifts gears (and coasts) into a punk riff that'd be at home in the hallowed halls of CBGB, with metal elements weaving their way in.

Guitarists Anthony Bordonaro and Paul Riccobono start "Your Last Day" with a metal riff that twists into punk territory for the verses and back into metal (complete with squealing harmonics) after the choruses. Bordonaro then busts out a pure metal solo that dovetails back into the punk riffs.

Singer Mike Triana has a great sense of melody and uses his vocal range well. The vocals are clean, crisp, and oh-so-perfectly double-tracked in some of the choruses. Triana also plays a mean piano, providing welcome gravitas in the ballad "Odds Against," which has some subtle but interesting time shifts early on — and a huge one at the end, as our ballad shifts into punk-metal mayhem.

Somewhat less successful is "Upside Down," in which the keyboards and guitars don't quite gel. It's not a bad track, but it is the weakest on the disc. Still, the band does throw some interesting twists and a brutal riff in midway through.

The disc closes with the title track, "Impure Thoughts," which features an opening riff that reminds me quite a bit of latter-day Motorhead. Drummer Dima Shnaydman turns in his best performance here, shifting from the brutal beginning to a break with clean guitars and then back into metal mode.

With "Impure Thoughts," Dead Men Dreaming has created a five-song rock record that seamlessly blends genres, melding pop with the mosh pit.

Highs: "Your Last Day" features an amazing guitar solo; the disparate sounds of "Chemicals."

Lows: "Upside Down" is the one time that the effort to blend styles and sounds fails.

Bottom line: A fun disc that puts a pop sheen on punk and metal.

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)