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Dance Gavin Dance - Downtown Battle Mountain Album Cover

Dance Gavin Dance - Downtown Battle Mountain

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8.0
Dance Gavin Dance - Downtown Battle Mountain
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: May 15, 2007
Downtown Battle Mountain is one of those album that, despite the potential to be extremely well executed, falls short of its ability. While there are some parts of album that are pulled off unbelievable well, there are a few hitches in the overall scheme of the album that unfortunately stop it from being the epitomizing work that it could have been. Despite these small nuances, the album finds a way to make quite an impression and remains one of the more impressive works of this genre as well as Dance Gavin Dance's best work to date.

There are two real flaws in this album, the first being the now infamous screaming of Jon Mess. Just as in their followup untitled album, Mess' screaming is far from good. While it hadn't dipped to the pathetic level that was present for the latter album, in Downtown Battle Mountain they were still grating, but at least bearable (unlike some moments on the untitled album). The lyrics are the second weak point here. While it's something I've come to expect of Jonny Craig, it's strange that on this album almost all of Mess' screams are as hard to decipher. On their most recent release, he was understandable, so I have no idea what it was holding him back on most of his parts of this album. Craig's singing relies too much on his soaring cadences to really understand what he's saying. Sure, there are quite a few places where you can make them out, but it's hard to get the idea of a songs when 70% of the vocals are either slurred (Craig) or slathered (Mess) together. Of course, it doesn't seem as if I've really missed anything; once the lyrics were posted on the band's myspace page, many of them proved to be on the same level as "Deathstar."

Despite these two traps, Downtown Battle Mountain remains a solid album. Craig's vocals aid it quite a bit, and his excellent additions to intros of the songs "And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman" and "It's Safe to Say You Dig the Backseat" really pull you into the tracks. For the most part, his vocals pull the album through, and when he's balancing with Mess, trading lines, it actually makes Mess worthwhile to listen to. Some of the best moments on this album, however, revolve around the excellent changes between aggression and melody. One moment may revel in Craig-produced soaring verse that's assisted by Mess' torn up screaming before it quickly changes to a downplayed riff and Craig's soft crooning.

The guitarists do quite a bit to save this album from falling into mediocrity as well. Their stupendous displays in tracks like "Antlion" show that they're rather talented, and the riffing and technical work show off quite a bit of diversity that's needed. The pinpoint accuracy of the guitarists in the wavering riffs of "The Backwards Pumpkin Song" are a perfect indication of their aptitude on their instruments. This, combined with Craig's singing, make this album fairly creative. While they may still rely on the scream-sing formula, the more dynamic song structuring and vocal arrangements make this release at least somewhat ambitious and refreshing.

This is the last release to be seen from this band in their original form. Shortly after, the dismissal of Craig and further trouble within the band rocked them to their core. While they've rebounded, you're probably not going to hear something with the same premise as Downtown Battle Mountain emerging from this band. While I actually view the new formation of the band favorably, I can't even say that the untitled album was up to scratch with this one, and so far, this stands as the epitome of the bands work. Despite the small hitches that are holding this back from being a truly unbelievable album, it's an ambitious work that shouldn't be dismissed as just another scene "sing-scream" album.

Recommended If You LikeAkissforjersey; Emarosa; Lower Definition; A Skylit Drive; Pierce the Veil; Chiodos; The Fall of Troy

myspace.com/dancegavindance
This review is a user submitted review from Klatzke. You can see all of Klatzke's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 17
09:54 AM on 03/08/09
#2
Blaise&Panthia.
Too much too much too much too much
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Every time I listen to one of the recommend bands, my mind always seems to go back to the best moments of this album.
I would much prefer Jonny's voice to a stereotypical pitch-perfect American Idol-esque singer.
And great, great review.
10:17 AM on 03/08/09
#3
circatbs
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Great review. I love this album so much.
11:11 AM on 03/08/09
#4
more heart
Endure and survive
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This is one of my favorite records..

Have to agree that the lyrics on this record were terrible and Mess' screams were atrocious but I think Jonny's deserves slightly more credit. At least now with Emarosa it's easier to understand what he's singing so at least he's improved a bit.
12:07 PM on 03/10/09
#5
donwagenblast
@mylifeisdon
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one of my all-time favorites.
01:03 PM on 03/10/09
#6
actionpat
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damn fine album.
03:05 PM on 03/10/09
#7
zombie!pirate!
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great review, my only differences are in I like the self titled more then this :-x just personal preference. and in the RIYL, I feel like there's a legitamacy to this album that some of the bands in there could never pull off.

but well done
07:10 PM on 03/10/09
#8
Mattylikesfilms
If You Dig Up The Dead...
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I liked their s/t album hella better.
10:40 AM on 03/15/09
#9
TotalCollapse
You are my blanked out pages.
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This is one of my favorite albums. So much better than their s/t, which was complete trash.

The lyrics aren't that great, they're very random, but atleast they're better than the s/t lyrics.
09:15 PM on 05/13/09
whataclush
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did you actually give jonny craig an 8.5, with a straight face? he has the strongest belting voice in all of music. unless you do a maynard james keenan review, you're never going to rate anyone a 10.
07:09 AM on 05/14/09
donwagenblast
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did you actually give jonny craig an 8.5, with a straight face? he has the strongest belting voice in all of music. unless you do a maynard james keenan review, you're never going to rate anyone a 10.
I think he gave it an 8.5 because Craig isn't the only singer in the band. No matter how great he sounds (and he does sound phenomenal), there's still the problem of Jon Mess's screaming. That, to me, is what holds the score back.
09:31 PM on 05/30/09
chelseaxsmilexD
AP.net's official punching bag
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This is my third favorite album ever... BACKWARDS PUMPKIN SONG IS AMAZING... however the lyrics make no since unless you put them together in a metaphorical way... For what these songs mean here:

AND I TOLD THEM I INVENTED TIMES NEW ROMAN:He still loves a girl even though he's heard so much stuff about him.

BACKWARDS PUMPKIN SONG:He's betrayed a love for drugs


others.. i'm too bored and lazy to say... but you get my point... you have to reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaalllllllly dig deep... jaknow?
12:39 AM on 06/15/09
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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I think he gave it an 8.5 because Craig isn't the only singer in the band. No matter how great he sounds (and he does sound phenomenal), there's still the problem of Jon Mess's screaming. That, to me, is what holds the score back.
exactly, and there's no way craig would get a 10 anyways. i'd rate dallas greene above him anyday in this genre.
03:13 PM on 09/05/09
whataclush
Gillies
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^ lol. jonny craig rips dallas green apart in every way shape and form. if you know nothing about singing, then i can understand how you wont give him a 10.
09:26 AM on 01/10/10
Dystroxia
We found love in a hopeless place
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^ lol. jonny craig rips dallas green apart in every way shape and form. if you know nothing about singing, then i can understand how you wont give him a 10.
I have to agree, but Jonny half-assed himself on his solo album.

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