In retrospect, vocalist Nicholas Brooks leaving It Dies Today in 2007 has been the best thing to ever happen to this metalcore mob. Their first two albums were full of songs that even ultra-scenesters would’ve been hard pushed to like, let alone proclaim an undying affinity to. They were rife with cliched romantic monologues, squeaky clean vocals and were devoid of any of the intensity, sharp riffs and memorable songs that so many of their peers had in spades. Fast forward to 2009, with a large, tattooed bruiser of a man named Jason Wood fronting the band, and It Dies Today might just have made something worth listening to.
Lividity is heavier, meaner and just generally better than anything we’ve heard from It Dies Today before. The savagery on offer from This Ghost and the crushing Thank You For Drinking is impressive, and even if that savagery is predictably breakdown-laden as each song concludes, to hear a band you’d normally only associate with mediocrity pulling off some mighty tunes is impressive. I’d give the video for Thank You For Drinking a view just so you can see how tight and mighty the band look now. The difference between now and the band who gave us A Threnody For Modern Romance (shudder) is glaring.
Of course, it’s not all good news. Jason Wood has a cracking set of vocal chords when he’s screaming, but as soon as he begins to sing, it literally feels like you’ve digressed to an early New Found Glory release, such is the whiney, nasally quality of his tone. It’s a shame, because the sections in which Wood does sing are often sandwiched inbetween some crushing metallic moments, making the transition between the two jarring. Clean vocals seem to be somewhat of a lost art in heavy music these days, but when they’re used this badly, maybe they should remain so.
The band themselves have enough ferocity, off-kilter riffs and intensity to drive you through the ten songs Lividity offers, and as mentioned, there are some great moments. Unfortunately, they’re sandwiched inbetween the sort of conventions that’ve made metalcore such a stitled genre over the last few years. Still, It Dies Today have offered enough to show that even losing a singer can help you find your way a little bit. Signs of promise that’ll hopefully be better realised when album number four rolls around.
Thank You For Drinking video (skip to 30 seconds in to avoid the adverts)