Album Review: A Dying Regime- “Lost Ave”

Album Review: A Dying Regime- “Lost Ave”

As time passes, the once antagonistic genres of punk and metal have become spokesmen for cross pollination. It seems strange that even though the two share so much in aggression, that the methods of expression are so at odds. Punk favors lyricism over technical musicianship, preferring to bring a voice, no matter how grating, to the downtrodden. And while punk seems hell-bent on tearing away at the romanticized notions of rock music, metal seems to revel in its excess. Difficult to master techniques are a requirement for most metal guitarists, who are accordingly the true rock stars of the genre. Lyrically, the opposite of punk is favored; a more bombastic approach steeped in fantasy and violent imagery, sometimes for nothing more than its own sake. Broad generalizations aside, what once was exclusive is now becoming common ground. Admittedly, metal was quicker to take widespread influence from punk than vice versa. The speed and aggression of hardcore is now so intertwined with metal, that it’s hard to believe it wasn’t there from the start. But punk, perhaps a little too proud for its own good, has remained relatively pure as a whole, relegating bands with metal tendencies to niche sub genres. This is slowly changing though, with A Dying Regime being one of a growing wave to mix their methods of aggression.

Lost Ave is A Dying Regime’s first release, a six song EP that melds fast paced melodic hardcore with metal riffing and technicality. While this is by far not the first attempt at creating a melodic punk metal hybrid, with A Wilhelm Scream and Strung Out predating them, it is still relatively refreshing to hear the gimmick unearthed and played competently. A Dying Regime’s Lost Ave is a great addition to the growing style, featuring excellent musicality and songwriting.

Lost Ave is kicked off by “Monitor Burn,” a vitriolic attack on, well, something. Complacency or some other painfully generic punk rock platform. “And so, I’ll breach these lines. It is the passion of the fight. You’re just a waste of time. Fuck the reason, you’re bringing me down,” may be cathartic to sing, but it’s foundation is weak and falls apart at the most lackadaisical scrutiny. Is this another song about revolution? Personal betterment? Alas, trying to attach meaning to meaningless lyrics is “just a waste time.” That being said, despite the generic brand quality of the first song’s lyrics, “Monitor Burn” is catchy and musically cohesive. “Swinging for the Fences” fairs much better in my book, toning down the guitar attack slightly while lead singer Dane Hagen delivers a hooky chorus that’s written with a better sense of meaning and purpose. While we’ve all heard songs about people holding us back and the emotions they inspire, the song feels like it draws more from personal experiences than punk rock cliches. Next up is “Headcell,” which also features a fantastic hook in the chorus, something A Dying Regime seem to be specifically adept at. I won’t complain. For a new band just starting out, I can’t think of a better way to pave your way than releasing a six song EP that will absolutely refuse to leave your head.

Taking a brief break from driving hardcore beats, the band slows things down with the classical guitar track “Sonatina Di Prova.” Usually, this kind of transparent attempt at breaking up an album of similarly styled tracks would irritate me, but the interlude is beautiful and the EP is better for it. “Keeper of the Blade” rips through the quieter beauty of the acoustic track with cock rock machismo. It’s fun, but not as strong as the other tracks. “A Hedgehog Dilemma” closes Lost Ave with a sense that A Dying Regime has spent the album finding and perfecting their sound. The last track is hooky, technical, and fast as Hell. It’s a great finisher; bringing all of A Dying Regime’s strongest elements to the forefront.

Lost Ave is a strong release from a band that is obviously talented. It’s not perfect, and it falters in significant ways. But even with its weaknesses, the conquering of two separate genres isn’t easy, and A Dying Regime doesn’t present themselves as a weak band. I think to some degree, there’s always a worry that the more we change punk, the more diluted it will become. Eventually being reduced to a product, similar only in name. Lost Ave’s nearly athletic sense of virtuoso musicianship may turn off some of those that feel that way. But despite what it does with the sound, at its core it’s just another catchy punk rock album. The packaging has changed, not the heart.


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