With new lead singer, Jason Wood supplanting Nicholas Brooks, Buffalo metalcore quintet It Dies Today takes something of a departure and a step back on its third full-length album, Lividity. The production is better and less tinny than it was on its debut LP, Caitiff Choir, but this latest offering lacks the freshness of the band’s earlier material. While It Dies Today’s previous effort, 2006’s Sirens was lambasted for being “soft”, the band still showed much more innovation in its approach than this offering. Lividity feels formulaic, as if It Dies Today broke out some sort of post-hardcore handbook to bang out every song on the disc: You’ve got your requisite pounding backbeats dictating the precise tempo of the drill-bit staccato guitar riffs. Then you have the growling, guttural vocals that bark out the angst-riddled lyrics for approximately three-fourths to seven-eighths of the song with “clean” singing vocals interspersed for the remaining one-fourth to one-eighth. With that said, It Dies Today should consider changing its name to “It Sounds the Same”.
While heavier strains of metal are often criticized by detractors of the genre as “sounding the same”, It Dies Today grabs the amp marked with that particular stereotype and cranks it to 11. “Reckless Abandon” and “Miss October” sound quite similar. Were it not for the flash of brilliance on “Miss October”‘s intro on behalf of guitarist Mike Hatalak, they’d be virtually indistinguishable. Ditto for “Thank You for Drinking”, which just shifts things up a half-key higher. “Martyr of Truth” is a bright spot on the disc, as is “Nihility”. Both stand out as some of the disc’s most original sounding tracks — punishing and brutal yet surprisingly well written. However, a paltry thimbleful of quality songs still can’t bring this album any substantial measure of redemption.