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Album review: Dead by Sunrise's 'Out of Ashes'

October 14, 2009 |  5:57 pm
DEAD_BY_SUNRISE_240 The best thing about Linkin Park's last album, "Minutes to Midnight," was how deftly it cleaved off the band's rap-rock stereotypes. Chester Bennington dialed down his caterwauling, and the songs were rooted in lighters-up emo tinged with snappy, heavy rock.

The debut release from Bennington's new side project Dead by Sunrise similarly fuses ambient atmosphere, trashy punk and bleeding-heart melodies onto a framework of pop-metal songwriting. But while "Out of Ashes" has moments of spark, it's more scattershot and less ambitious than the music Bennington makes with Linkin Park.

Bennington's self-laceration is pushed to the front of the mix here. The Foo Fighters-ish "Crawl Back In" has an odd return-to-the-womb psychology to it. Whoever heard of a rocker singing "I don't want to lose my innocence" before? The sounds likewise are a bit lost -- "Let Down" is a fitting title for a song built on synthetic drum presets.

The band is at its best when rocking the hardest. The metalcore grind of "My Suffering" and the Queens of the Stone Age riffage of "Inside of Me" prove Bennington still can pen the kind of inspiring choruses that have earned him a devoted following among angsty teen males. As a rock star side project, though, Dead by Sunrise has an unlikely fault -- it's not nearly indulgent enough.

-- August Brown

Dead by Sunrise
"Out of Ashes"
(Warner Bros.)
Two stars (Out of four)
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