Sound — 9
If you're a fan of Billy Talent then you know by now that they tend to change up their style album by album, and "Dead Silence" is no exception. Billy Talent's work on "Dead Silence" does a good job of drawing inspiration from their previous albums while still delivering a new style to keep them sounding fresh. The opening track "Lonely Road To Absolution" is definitely a surprise (surprise) for any long time fan, as it is an acoustic track. Still a great sound that they pulled off very well. After the opening track it kicks into the first single "Viking Death March", the song has the classic sound you come to expect from Billy Talent; Ian's unmistakeable octave finger stretching riff-work opens the track, followed by Jon's delicious descending bass-line (which reminds me of the old song "The Ants Go Marching Down" for some reason) and Aaron's snare role before busting into a heavier version of the opening riff. The song overall has that classic Billy Talent vibe and seems to draw inspiration from the sound they experimented with on "Billy Talent III". From there it goes into the bands second single "Surprise, Surprise". This track has the sort of sound you would hear from their debut album as Billy Talent. Very heavy riffs followed by lighter verse riffs and aggressive delivery on the vocals. That brings us to the song "Runnin' Across The Tracks", it's a good mix between their aggressive "BT1" sound and a new sound they have brought forth with "Dead Silence". The song begins hard and fast before going into the verses which is sung with what I can only assume is Ben's substitution for how he used to scream. The song is hard-hitting and again has that classic Billy Talent vibe with a new twist. Now onto "Love Was Still Around", a punchy rock track about criminals, their bad choices and the consequences they can have on the people around them. Jon Gallant's solid bass line can be heard most prominently in the intro, very fast, clean finger plucks on the bass which is rare to find in their genre where most bass players prefer the sound of a pick. Aaron also has some very interesting drum parts in this track, one example that comes to mind is the beginning of the 2nd verse where he switches into rim shots, adds a really nice touch to the track and on a side note it's nice to see that his disease hasn't seemed to affect his drumming skills and is still pumping out great drum tracks. Ben's vocals are strong and he effectively expresses the emotions of the song and Ian and Jon's backup/gang vocals add a nice layer to the song (the part where they shout "Out of the house with your hands up!" is a good example). There is also a very nice solo played by Ian in this song with a guitar tone I have never heard used by him before, almost a Nu-Metal-esque tone to it (and of anyone knows what effects you can use to achieve it please leave a comment about it because I would love to know how to get that tone for myself). "Stand Up And Run" is the next track, and it's definitely not a sound you would expect from the band. A light, ballad-ie track you would most likely expect to see on "Billy Talent II" if anything. Not a bad track and a nice change up in style to keep the pallet fresh while listening to the album. Now it's on to "Crooked Minds", a heavy, groove-oriented track that will have your head bobbing to the beat. The song starts out with a clean guitar riff with Ben singing before kicking into a heavier bit and a "Yeah!" scream which is very similar to the one Ben used in the intro to "Devil In A Midnight Mass". A good track for any fan. Now we have "Man Alive!", a very aggressive track which starts off with Aaron playing a poppy upbeat drum beat which eventually builds into the chorus which is full of Ben's signature screaming style vocals. This track seems to also be drawing inspiration from their earlier work on "Billy Talent I". An energetic song from start to finish, it's a treat for any fan of the "Billy Talent I"-era of the band. And now onto "Hanging By A Thread", personally I find it my least favorite track on the album. Not that it's a bad song, I'm sure there's some people out there who enjoy it but to me it just seems like Billy Talent filler, the song doesn't seem to go anywhere for me and just leaves me with an overall "meh" feeling after the song finishes. But after that they come back strong with "Cure For The Enemy", a very heavy, deep track with the vocals being the shining point of the track. Very well done, lyrics are superb and are sung beautifully, harmonies are spot on and are sung at just the right moments. Everybody compliments each other very well on this track and is one of the best tracks on the album for me. From there we go to "Don't Count On The Wicked", it starts out with a very catchy guitar riff before going into the verses, again sung with some terrific harmonies from Ian D'Sa. Ian hits some pretty high notes in this track, along with a few other tracks as well, very impressive on Ian's part and it's nice to see the band still trying to expand their range nearly 20 years into their career. "Show Me The Way" is the next track, and is again one of those tracks with a new sound you wouldn't expect but still having ties to their earlier work. It's pretty reminiscent of their sound from "Billy Talent II" but also seems to be taking from their time as "Pezz" with a sort of sound you'll find on "Watoosh"! A bright, poppy song that is a good listen, probably won't be everyone's type of song but definitely worth a listen. Now it's onto my favorite track on the album: "Swallowed Up By The Ocean". A very beautiful song, one of the songs that showcase the new sound they brought to this album. The strange thing about this track is that it's the first track to feature a piano as a main instrument in a Billy Talent song, why it's strange is because it took this long for it to happen, since Ian is mainly a piano player and often writes the Billy Talent riffs on piano and transposes them onto guitar. This song is my favorite because it's one of those songs that starts off mellow and gradually builds into an epic piece of music by the end of it, it's beautifully written and I would love for them to explore this style of writing further in their future releases. And finally we come to the closing track which the album gets its name, "Dead Silence". Out of the 14 songs on this album, this is definitely the most fitting one to close with. The song begins with Ian playing a classic BT-style rhythm/lead riff before kicking into a rolling drum beat. The song builds before going into (to me) a Muse-like bridge. The ending is what stands out to me the most, with Ben repeating the lines "Dead Silence/When Violence" before slowly fading out into Ian's "Woah-Oh-E-Oh-Oh-Ohhh" and the rest of the bands instrumental work.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on this album range from topics like Love (lost & found), government and politics, greed, rebellions, environment and crime. These are my own interpretations of the lyrics. 01. "Lonely Road To Absolution" - seems to tell the story of how these days the villains are the ones who come out on top while the good people are shoved to the side and cast away. 02. "Viking Death March" - about the little man rising up to take back what is rightfully "ours". A song about forming a mutiny of sorts to throw the people in office out of power because of their hypocrisy, lies and greed have gone on too long and are only out to use us to benefit themselves. 03. "Surprise, Surprise" - a song about the people who need to follow every current trend that comes out, about how our generation is full of fakers and buy into whatever the media tells us is what is as isn't "cool". 04. "Runnin' Across The Tracks" - a song about taking chances in life. The song seems to be being told from the point of view of a man who is looking back and reflecting on all the moments he's never seized and is now living a life of regrets. 05. "Love Was Still Around" - a song about a criminal who got in too deep and his actions have affected many lives for the worse. The song seems to be singing about a Schizophrenic who blamed everything on his illness and took no responsibility or help to prevent his violent actions. 06. "Stand Up And Run" - a song about lost love and how you never know what you had until its gone, and longing for that love to come back. 07. "Crooked Minds" - to me, this song seems to deal with a lot of the same subject matter as "Red Flag" from "Billy Talent II". The song talks about how we're destroying nature and paving over it to make room for more cities, not worrying about it today and subsequently leaving it for the children of tomorrow to deal with. 08. "Man Alive!" - a song warning people of being taken advantage of in their work place, about standing up for your rights as a human being and pretty much not being your boss' b*tch. It also seems to deal with the same subject matter as "Boiled Frogs" by Alexisonfire, how some people will work their entire lives for someone to get nothing in return and end up old broken and tossed away once they're of no use anymore. 09. "Hanging By A Thread" - a song about a man who loves his partner and gets treating horribly in return, and it goes on for a while until he has had enough and is contemplating ending the relationship, by the end the man is asking for a sign that she cares because it isn't long before he's gone. 10. "Cure For The Enemy" - a song about a father and son who have become astranged over time that in hindsight seem petty, but the father has come down with some form of illness that's left him in a state of comatose and now the son is wanting to forgive and forget and appreciate the time they have left together. This song deals with the same subject matter as "4AM" by Our Lady Peace (another great Canadian band). 11. "Don't Count On The Wicked" - I don't know what this song is about. I'm sorry. I've failed you. If I had to take a guess, I'd say its about someone who has been scorned by society so many times that he's just turned his back on everyone. 12. "Show Me The Way" - a song about a guy who never learns from his mistakes and keeps running from them, but a girl lets him have it and tells him about what he's doing wrong. He asks her for her help in fixing his flaws, to show him the way. 13. "Swallowed Up By The Ocean" - a song about a couple in love at the beginning but the girl changed over time and now he's fed up with her and her abuse and decides to end the relationship. 14. "Dead Silence" - I'm sorry, I'm not quite sure what this song is about either. Although it does remind me of maybe a family or couple hiding from the Nazi army and they get found, and upon fleeing one of the lovers is killed, leaving the other a widow.
Overall Impression — 9
This album was well done, I could easily listen to it start to finish multiple times. What I like most about it is that it has styles ranging from every era of the band and bringing forth a new sound as well, so there's something for everyone on it. It was a nice step up from "Billy Talent III", and this album has songs that will please any form of Billy Talent fan. This album is definitely worth buying and if it were stolen I'd go right back to the store and buy a new one. If you haven't heard the album yet, you're missing out on some damn good rock tracks.