Metal's back and in a big way, although without the big hair that typified the 1980s scene. Indeed, gone are the days of Aqua Net and spandex. Today's scene is ensconced in subgenres bearing the "-core" suffix and much heavier influences.
Dead to Fall are no exception, wearing the "metalcore" moniker as proudly as they do their requisite black t-shirts. The Chicago- and Minneapolis-based band just wrapped their third album, due out April 4. Regally yet rockingly titled The Phoenix Throne, the new CD finds Dead to Fall returning to their '80s metal roots. According to singer Jon Hunt, older American metal bands influenced the shift.
"We went on tour with Obituary and Napalm Death, and that had a huge influence on us," he says. "We also have some of the newer members [of Dead to Fall] that are more capable, more talented in writing -- a lot more technical."
The Phoenix Throne maintains the heaviness and massive riffs embraced by Dead to Fall's previous albums, but features a fair sprinkling of thrash metal. Hunt claims the album is the band's best yet.
"We put a lot more thought into this record, instead of just going, 'Oh, that's a cool riff, let's put it with that other cool riff,'" he explains.
Contemporary "core" bands also indirectly played a role in shaping Dead to Fall's new sound. Hunt claims the scene is oversaturated with sound-alike bands, such as Bleeding Through and Atreyu, and pop-influenced bands, such as Avenged Sevenfold. Wanting to go a different way ultimately led Dead to Fall to tap into the past.
How far the band is willing to take the nostalgia trip is anyone's guess. Hunt says a couple things currently work against him.
"I don't have the sweet curls and the locks that those old hair metal bands did," he says. "And I have too much of a beard to wear make-up."
-- Kara Luger
Dead to Fall with Ion Dissonance, Texas is on Fire, Runsfasterscared and Elucidarius
The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.
Saturday, Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $8; call 227-7625 or visit sodajerkpresents.com.