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Don't judge a chick by her make-up - 70%

Sean16, November 25th, 2008

The title fulfills its promises. A Dead Heavy Day is undoubtedly heavy. However genuine heaviness has always been opposed to cheap heaviness, and this album unfortunately belongs to the second category. I mean, the recipe is too gross. Down-tuned guitars, a very present bass, occasionally yelling vocals on basic verse/chorus song structures: you get the picture, every inch of this release just sounds too modern, too 15-years-old token goth kiddies formatted to be fully honest. Oh, and let’s also add some swearing as well, so that those geeks who listened to Slipknot two months ago, and to gangsta rap three months before, won’t be disoriented; I just can’t resist quoting these amazing lines from the opening song Diane, which fortunately doesn’t set the mood for the rest of the work: I see you're shaking your ass on your slut-athon / Still too fat to be fucked but hey keep going on - y’know gurl, we’ve just stumbled upon the lyrics of Type O Negative’s Black n°1, but as ye’d be too stupid to take the hint we translated it for you.

But now dare cleaning this goth bitch of all her half-an-inch-thick make-up, her silver-plated trinkets sold twice the price of plain silver as well as her worn-out clothes of limited series, and chances are she will look probably not gorgeous, but at least more like what a human being is supposed to look like. Proceed with A Dead Heavy Day as with the audience it’s targeted at and you may find an agreeable, entertaining release. Of course you’ll have to pass over all the make-up, to pass over the vulgar opener, to pass over these breakdowns in Me Myself and I, to pass over the most of time mediocre verses, to pass over this worthless, alas unavoidable pop-goth ballad, X (the title perfectly mirrors the content by the way), to pass over these walls of far too thick, down-tuned guitars, heaviness of the poor. Nonetheless the riffs are often well-crafted, even if they are still unlikely to have you headbang till you smash your brain; the guitar solos are made of unadulterated metal, guitarist/singer Ville Laihiala has a nice medium-pitched, melancholic, probably a tad drunken, voice (hey, they’re Finnish, so what did you expect?) – as long as he isn’t trying too hard, and several choruses just hit the point pretty well.

Granted, there isn’t any outstanding track on this recording – as there just can’t be any outstanding track on such a recording – and the songwriting is too predictable to guarantee it a high replay value; however let’s admit the triptych following the idiotic Diane is worth some attention, perhaps only because the album hasn’t reached its monotony limit at that point, but still. The title track especially with its slow, crushing, almost doom-ish riff, is genuine gothic metal, and of the best sort. Listen, THIS is how gothic metal is supposed to sound, hopeless, majestic, somewhat twisted and pathological, indeed the perfect antithesis of the synth pop garbage of Within Temptation and their clique. Left Behind as well as Bear the Cross are both much livelier tunes, probably less moving, more radio-friendly, but nonetheless solid dark metal anthems which not unsurprisingly kill live (as far as I can remember from one month ago, ha).

So yes, Poisonblack is a commercial band, but it can also work as a proof there’s sometimes something worthwhile to dig amongst commercial bands. The production is polished, the songwriting for sure won’t take any risk, every bar can be deduced from the preceding one, the musicians are all doing a good, professional job if nothing more, and A Dead Heavy Day keeps on rolling this way, with its fugitive instants of brilliance as well as its dangerous mainstream compromises, up to the last notes of the a tad lengthy closing track. You just can’t truly fall in love with a pre-pubescent goth chick.

Highlights: Left Behind, Bear the Cross, A Dead Heavy Day