Downtown Battle Mountain Review

artist: Dance Gavin Dance date: 06/29/2010 category: compact discs
Dance Gavin Dance: Downtown Battle Mountain
Release Date: May 15, 2007
Label: Rise
Genres: Post-Hardcore, Emo
Number Of Tracks: 11
Whatever the outcome, Dance Gavin Dance are walking a fine line between paving the way to the future and frying to a crisp with that big old flaming zeppelin.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 9.5
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 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (4) 10 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
Downtown Battle Mountain Reviewed by: tucker69, on february 01, 2008
4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound was great, but technically didn't change since their past album. The guitarists are quite unique, playing riffs and solos all the time like they were possessed or something, and listening to the album forever wouldn't give you a clue who the lead dude nor the rhythm dude is, or maybe both of them are the lead dudes. And since the guitars don't play pretty heavy stuff for the band, it's all the responsibility of the drummer and the screamer. And I think they did a pretty good job doing so. I really didn't appreciate the bassist, but if the vocalist would be the topic, that's a different story. The vocalist is really a very unique one, holding high notes and giving every lyric that harmonious approach, and with lunacy. You won't find any voice like that anywhere. Ever. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics were very hard to understand, specially those screamed, and the way they sang the lyrics were very odd, the vocalist sings then followed by the screamer, as if they were having a confrontation or something. The lyrics was deep, and was able to comprehend with the music so much. The singer was, as I said before, amazing. He can hold high notes, and, gives them harmonious approach, and, I've said that before, you see? He's just great. // 9

Overall Impression: Pretty nothing changed in Dance Gavin Dance since their past album: whining guitar riffs all throughout the atmosphere, a monotonous bass guitar in the background, sick drumbeats, a technically gifted vocalist and a mentally challenged screamer, all in one. Songs are all very impressive, thanks to guitar dudes 1 and 2, and to Mr. Johnny Craig(vocal dude). Some stuff are cool too, like the acoustic track, the last track I think, where you can actually sink your ears on the "orgasmic" voice of the Johnny. Well, I just hate the fact that at this very moment, Johnny is no longer a member of Dance Gavin Dance. Well, in the album there is none to hate. If it was lost, no it wont be. I'll never let that happen. Never. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Downtown Battle Mountain Reviewed by: Axle Sterling, on june 29, 2010
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: I happened to stumble upon this band by accident, to be honest. I was just looking around Matt Traynor's (drummer of Blessthefall) Myspace and suddenly the words "By Now You Know, That I Am Cold!!!" came blaring out of my speakers. My eyes shot over to his MySpace Music Player and read the words "And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman" aloud to myself. I looked at the band name and chuckled to myself quietly, finding DanceGavinDance to be a little humorous. I finished listening to the rest of the song, finding little spots in it that just caught me off guard. Overall, the song blew me away and is still my favorite to this very day. I immediately ran out and bought the album, entitled "Downtown Battle Mountain". From then on, I discovered that this six-piece Post-Hardcore outfit from Sacramento was something big. What truly makes this album a masterpiece, is how everything flows together in such a chaotic yet beautiful way, it's something you've never heard before.Sean O' Sullivan and Will Swan, the bands guitarists give DGD one of their trademark sounds: They both play lead. Not to say one of them wont take a slightly more rhythmic and basic approach, but most of the album is them playing wonderfully melodic and technical licks. To the untrained ear, it it would like an album full of guitar solos. Songs like "Lemon Meringue Tie", may come off as lounge music in the beginning, while songs such as "The Backwards Pumpkin Song" have obvious technical "shredding" involved. The guitar work reminded me a bit of Circa Survive, or that of Fall Of Troy. These two are also no strangers to using various guitar effects to give off spacey, and odd feelings during the songs. The bass does exactly what it needs to do: Anchor everything. Eric Lodge does a fantastic job of keeping a solid groove while still maintaining his sound within the band. This is never more apparent than in "Lemon Meringue Tie", where he takes the intro of the song by storm. Another trademark sound of the band is due to Matt Mingus's drumming ability. May I say, its impressive. This man is without a doubt one of the top Post-Hardcore drummers out there. He's also one of the few that still uses a five-piece kit in the scene. He utilizes his entire kit with ease, unleashing raw power and amazing technicality. He throws in off-time fills and beats, at times surprising the listener with his double bass skill. During the build up of "And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman", Matt slowly builds from 8th notes, to 16th notes, and finally to 32nd notes with his double bass pedal with fluid motion and precision. It seems that random blasts of double bass is something he likes to do quite often throughout the album. This band has real talent, and it shows. Not only through the album, but the fact that they are damn perfect during live shows. // 8

Lyrics: Once again, a signature of Dance Gavin Dance's unique sound is the vocals and lyrics. The band has two lead vocalists: Johnny Craig(Clean Vocals) and Jon Mess(Harsh Vocals). But I'll get to that in a bit. Most of the lyrics don't make much sense, that is until you either look much deeper into them, or interpret them in a way that makes sense to you. I honestly don't know what they try to convey in them for sure, but I believe I have an idea. In a sense, Jon Mess( the bands primary lyricist I believe) is a mad scientist when it comes to lyrics. In "Antlion", he opens the song by screaming "There's a bomb in my face/ decorated in white lace" Or in "Strawberry Andre" he shouts "Slit her throat on the frying pan/You caught cold and forgot the plan" these off-the-wall lyrics truly compliment the bands style and help them what they are. You have chaotic moments in the music blending with spastic lyrics, or beautiful lyrics melding with soft parts, it's too good to be true. Other times the lyrics are a bit more obvious, like when Johnny sings "I don't know why/I don't know why I fight for you this way" during the rousing chorus of "Lemon Meringue Tie" behind a solid, chugging guitar part. As I mentioned before, the band features TWO singers. This makes for some very interesting parts in songs. What makes it that much better, is that both of these vocalists happen to be simply amazing. Jon Mess has these harsh, piercing and almost tortured screams. It seems that he's yelling at the listener rather than screaming to a song. His scream is unlike that of any I have ever heard. I'm sure alot of people will say that his screams are terrible, and he sounds like he's doing it wrong. However, it just makes him that much more unique and respectable among the other screamers. To be honest, I find his voice to be more emotional than that of his singing counter-part. That of course, would be none other than Johnny Craig's voice. Let me just get this right off the bat: This man has one of the greatest voices I have ever heard in my life, regardless of genre. His voice is soothing, yet powerful. It truly is amazing to hear. When he and Jon take part in call-and-answer vocal spots, it's just something so fresh to hear these complete opposites coincide with one another to make beautiful music. Not only do they sound perfect on the album, but they are simply god-like live! The ending of "And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman" (Yes, I know I mention this song alot), takes the best of both singers to their limits. Jon Mess is heard barking "People they change/And I would still be ashamed/To let the weight of the world/Rest on your shoulders/I'll fight until this war is over" As Johnny Craig, oozing with passion yelps out "I'll beg you when you know/I'll beg you when it shows/We'll go for it/I don't believe the lies/I don't believe the lies/I'll die for you" to create one of the best vocal performances I have heard throughout the genre. The point is, the vocals and lyrical content on this album, and ace. // 10

Overall Impression: Before hearing "Downtown Battle Mountain", I found myself into alot of metalcore/screamo kind of music, not to say any of that was bad, I still love it to this day. However, "Downtown Battle Mountain" changed my outlook on music, I found that you can be completely different, and push the boundaries to do what you love. Like I said, the best part about this album and band, is that there is nothing else like it. Nothing. As for the overall sound of the album, there truly is not a dull song on it. Sure, the song titles are a bit odd, but its just another of the bands many charms. The best is hands down "And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman", the albums opener. (After the intro "Untitled" respectively) It pretty much brings together everything that makes this band what it is, blaring drums, pounding bass, technical guitar work, and larger-than-life vocals. This song will hit you like a a good way. It's followed by another handful of strong songs, including "It's Safe To Say You Dig The Backseat", "Strawberry Andre", and "Lemon Meringue Tie". "It's Safe To Say You Dig The Backseat" is one of those songs that really drags you into whatever emotion the band is trying to get across, there's something about it that just pulls you down further and further. You almost feel sad once the song comes to an end, after enduring the heartache of what is obviously a one night stand. "The Backwards Pumpkin Song" and "Antlion" are both solid songs that keep the album moving on in a steady fashion. "Turn Off The Lights I'm Watching Back To The Future" is the only song on the album that seems just a bit slow, it doesn't seem to go anywhere, but is a decent song none the less. "Open Your Eyes And Look North" is a fantastic song to pick you up from the empty space "Turn Off The Lights..." leaves you on. Next, is "Surprise! I'm From Cuba, Everyone Has One Brain" is the perfect song to end with, the outro slowly fading out as the two vocalists trade off, giving everything they have in the final moments of the song. However, the very last song, entitled "12 Hours, 630 Miles" is where everything makes sense. For a minute and twenty four seconds, Johnny Craig pours out his emotions behind suttle acoustic guitars, and soft drums. There really isn't anything on the album that I don't absolutely love. I suppose if I could change one thing, I would make it longer. It's not that it was short, I just wish it would never end, haha. Anyways, I recommend you buy this. I mean literally, BUY IT! Don't download it, BUY IT WITH MONEY! This album is very deserving of it. Once you have this album, take care of it with your life, hopefully it will mean as much to you as it does to me. My copy; signed bu the band mind you, still sits on my shelf in perfect condition. If I may, I would like to close this review with a tiny personal story. This album has something in it, I don't know what, but it has something. Something larger-than-life, something almost magical. I've been going through a pretty hard time in my life, and I wouldn't hesitate for a split second to say that this album has helped me get through it. There is not a day that go's by that I don't listen to it, it truly is that special. Thank You, and Have A Great Day! -Axle Sterling // 10

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overall: 8.7
Downtown Battle Mountain Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 07, 2007
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: I first heard the song "Backwards Pumpkin Song" on someones myspace. They had various songs in their player, all of which were ace. I downloaded there album a couple of weeks later. To be honest, it absolutely blew me away. Dance Gavin Dance are a six-piece post-hardcore band with two incredibly competent guitarists, a bassist, an extremely good drummer, a screamer for the vocals and another quite fantastic singer. There sound is so rich and full. The only band I can think of as being slightly similar in sound would be someone like Alexisonfire or Underoath. Guitars widdle wildly in ridiculous speeds, time changes are abound but the rock steady drumming means you never feel remotely lost. The screamo vocallists line is extremely good, more deep roaring than the sort of bizarre emo squealing that most bands can come up with, and the vocal singer has a massive range and is very good at holding notes and leading. // 9

Lyrics: The dual vocal attack means the lyrics are given extra vehemence, but it's the lyrics themselves that really capture the spirit of this band. "Just let it show (Rest where you ought to be) (Block out your misery) I'll bring you far (Wait for the call) Well I'll go for it (You left in the hallway) I'll beg you when you know (People they change) (And I would still be ashamed)." With the brackets being the screaming line, lyrics like these fill the album. The shouts cutting through sound amazing and the sheer anger behind them propel it with extra derision. The singer is brilliant and the screamer has a unique voice, making this a very enjoyable side of the music // 8

Overall Impression: This debut LP from Dance Gavin Dance captures the energy of there live show very well, and also shows just how technically competent they are, whilst never sounding generic, a trap many post-hardcore bands fall into. An excellent debut and guranteed to win them a bigger fanbase. I just hope they hurry up and tour this side of the pond! // 9

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overall: 9
Downtown Battle Mountain Reviewed by: qotsa1998, on may 19, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: I first heard a short clip of the song "And I told them I Invented Times New Roman" in a video, and right away, Johnny Craig's voice had me hooked. I went out and bought the CD after listening to several other tracks, and the album is definatly not dissapointing. It kinda reminded me of Underoath, with deeper screaming and higher-pitched singing. The guitars are great, with fast riffs, lots of tremolo-picked leads, and heavy rythm parts. Combined with a punchy, deep bass tone that is not buried in the mix, and a really good double-kick drummer, they have unique, unmistakeable sound. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics in some of the songs are hard to understand, but in some songs, such as It's Safe to Say You Dig the Backseat, they really are'nt too difficult to understand. Often times, Johnny will sing a line or two, and then the screaming will come afterwards or during the lines. While the screaming isnt too clear or defined, it is deep enough to balance out Johnny's melodic singing. My favorite song it probably Antlion, which shows off Johnny's amazing range. Lyrically, the CD has some rather strange songs, with some dark lyrics at times, which fits with the dark, low feeling of some of the songs. The band clims he was drunk all through the writing and recording of the album, but it doesn't seem that way at all. He has one of the biggest ranges and maybe the most unique style of singing in rock/punk/post-hardcore in my opinion. it's comparable to Craig Owens of Chiodos or Circa Survive's singer Anthony Green. // 8

Overall Impression: In my mind, this is a great post-hardcore/emocore album. The songs that impressed me most were Antlion, Backwards Pumpkin Song, Open Your Eyes and Look North, and Lemon Merigue Tie, but every song is a great one. the last track, 12 hours, 630 Miles, is very different from the rest of the album, being more atmospheric and acoustic, and closes out the album well. All in all, it is well worth the purchase, even though it has only 9 real songs on it. I would definately buy it again if I had to, but thanks to computers, I have the entire album safely on my hard drive. Even tho Johnny is now with the band Emarosa, and the new singer Kurt Travis doesn't exactly have Johnny's voice, I'm still looking forward to their next album. If you like Chiodos, Circa Survive, or Underoath, this album might end up among your favorites. // 10

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