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Local headbangers turn down the volume on 'Sirens'

Ithought I had a good line for this review of "Sirens," the sophomore release from Buffalo's own It Dies Today:

" 'Sirens' is an appropriate title: It's loud, annoying, and repetitive." Fortunately, that statement only turned out to be one third true once I finally got my hands on the album.

No, the album isn't annoying, and it isn't very loud either, which will come as a pleasant surprise to some and a disappointment to others. If you're expecting the thrashing metal of "The Caitiff Choir," the band's 2004 debut, I advise you to stick with that album, because you won't get any hardcore melodies here. Sure, there's still lots of heavy screaming, crunching guitars and pounding drums, but "Sirens" is actually a very pop-oriented and accessible album.

Every song could be turned into a single in the future. Singer Nick Brooks does as much clean singing as he does screaming, especially in the songs' melodic choruses (usually each song's best aspect), and guitarists Chris Cappelli and Mike Hatalak now turn out catchy guitar lines rather than deep, distorted riffs. It's an inevitable turn for the mainstream, which may let some down. But like it or not, these songs will stick in your head for days.

But yes, it is repetitive. Although it shows a slightly different side of the band, it still falls victim to the same problem that plagued "The Caitiff Choir," in that there is minimal diversity in the overall sound of the songs. Almost all the songs follow the same formula: Screaming verse, clean singing chorus, back to the verse, back to the chorus, bridge and return to the chorus again. This usually isn't a bad thing; a good song can be formulaic without having you take notice of it (Weezer's "Green Album" is the perfect example).

This is the case for most of the songs here, but there are many instances, including the title track and "Black Bile, White Lies," where it's just too blatant to completely enjoy the songs. It could help if the band experimented a little with instrumentation and melodies, or maybe broke the Code of Heavy Metal by throwing in a ballad or two.

Sophomore releases usually either have the band working on expanding their sound or replaying their debut success, and "Sirens" is definitely the latter. It is by no means a sophomore slump, but it is still too tame for its own good, as the band plays it safe and still doesn't really dig into what it might truly be capable of. We can only hope that they'll do this on their next release.

DOWNLOAD THESE: "A Constant Reminder," "Through Leaves, Over Bridges"

Jason Silverstein is a sophomore at Williamsville North.

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