Death From Above survived a dramatic breakup to come back and release Outrage! Is Now. (Death From Above Facebook photo)

Street Sounds: Play it loud

Death From Above survived a dramatic breakup to come back and release Outrage! Is Now

Toronto alt-rock duo Death From Above survived a dramatic breakup to come back and release Outrage! Is Now — a record that roars.

Their third album (the second since reforming) is an impressive about face. They’ve re-imagined an organic sound, using vintage tools and instruments into a streamlined rock juggernaut, running on bass guitar and drums. Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastian Grainger have gone from a gritty dance punk twosome to a rugged alternative rock duo, reveling in power riffs with unlimited headroom and loud volume. Detectable is a Smashing Pumpkins/Black Sabbath power chord fixation.

Producer Eric Valentine helps the noisy duo keep their music tightly arranged but still sounding raucous. There’s musical force aplenty but Grainger and Keeler indulge their heavy rock dreams (Nomad, Statues) without bluster and macho posturing. They do this by leaning on their indie roots and the use of synthesizers and off kilter riffs. When they get heavy, there’s a sly humour lurking that adds levity to the cacophony (Caught Up).

The focus of Outrage! Is Now is on playing loud and making a statement with performance rather than any specific message or song form. The group and Valentine take the more is more approach and tweak it with minimal instrumentation at maximum wattage and go from there.

Play it loud or fuggedaboudit.

–Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews the latest music releases in his column, Street Sounds, every Friday.

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