Idols Are Dead – Mean (2008, Scarlet Records/SPV)
- This Is Not The End
- Let’s Do It
- Dance With The Devil
- Pain For Sale
- It’s So Easy
- The Name Of My Rage
- Proud To Be Sick
Mana – Vocals
Alley X – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Ico – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Maxx C. – Bass & Backing Vocals
Luka – Drums
Producers: Gabriele Ravaglia, Simone Mularoni & Maxx C.
Total Time = 32:36
Idols Are Dead are a young Metal quintet from Italy that wear there influences right on their leather clad sleeves. Imagine bringing together APPETITE-era GNR, Black album-era Metallica and touches of classic Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Anthrax and fusing all of it to the latest sound of Metalcore by channelling the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Killswitch Engage and Bullet For My Valentine. That’s a lot of sound and I’m not usually a fan of the newer breed of popular Metal but what I like about Idols Are Dead is that they stay true to their influences and they don’t compromise their sound.
‘This Is Not The End’ opens the album with a quick fire barrage of guitars and double-bass drums that remind me of the Hard Rock side of Metallica mixed with late ’90s Anthrax with John Bush. There’s an overall melodic tone to the song, especially in the singing, that sounds very American…..probably because lead vocalist Mana has a lot of James Hetfield in his delivery. Not a bad thing. ‘Let’s Do It’ is more of the straight forward catchy Metal while ‘Dance With The Devil’ has some interesting bass lines and buzzing guitars. Two things I noticed right away: this band has a lot of melody in it’s Metal assault and the production is top notch. This does not sound like a new band, a couple of the guys were in the Italian Death outfit Electrocution in the early ’90s, they sound like seasoned vets. Two more standout tracks, ‘Pain For Sale’ and ‘Dirt’, cement the band’s aggressive abilities with some outstanding riffs and solos while the rhythm section drives each song with a ton of power and attitude.
So far I’m into the record (and I don’t like bands that sound like Killswitch or Avenged) but the momentum stops with the Idols Are Dead cover of GNR’s ‘It’s So Easy’. This is why I hate cover songs, they disrupt the flow of the original material. Granted, it’s a good rendition of the GNR standard but not necessary…..a small complaint. The band makes up for it with the drum intro to ‘The Name Of My Rage’, a song that finds a certain driving groove that had my head bobbing back and forth in full headbang. Definitely a Metallica “Black era” influenced song but definitely faster with some interesting solos, one of my favorites of the record, especially that drum sound! The opening guitar of ‘Proud To Be Sick’ signals old school Thrash and the band incorporates that with the modern Metal sound like a Shadows Fall or All That Remains with clean vocals. Same thing with ‘Twiggy’, the band finds a certain classic Metal groove and combines it with a more modern sound. For some reason I really dig ‘Twiggy” and I can’t put my finger on way except for maybe there is just this certain old school root to it.
I really didn’t know what to expect from Idols Are Dead, especially when I read some of the band comparisons, but they impressed me. There is this classic Metal sound the band has that, when mixed with the melodic Metalcore, they come up with something really aggressive and full of groove. Aside from my disdain for the GNR cover, I thought MEAN was a seriously good debut. If I had to level any criticism, I would like to see the band branch out more and maybe experiment a little with different styles. The songs on MEAN are all very straightforward and tight, you can hear the influences the band has, their next album should be where they expand and explore their overall sound. I’ll definitely be looking forward to a new Idols Are Dead album, in the meantime I’ll keep this album in my listening rotation.
Favorite Songs: ‘The Name Of My Rage’, ’Pain For Sale’, ‘Twiggy’, ‘Dance With The Devil’