"Death Pop Romance"


01. This Legend Forever
02. Abandon Your Hope
03. Phantoms
04. The Curse of Bravery
05. Remembrance
06. Live the Myth
07. City of Hurt
08. Persistence
09. The Velvet Remains
10. Farewell to Devotion

RATING: 7/10

Unabashedly candy-coated, well, death pop from Denmark. On their third album, and first for Lifeforce, RAUNCHY ironically slip a little closer in sound to some of their former NUCLEAR BLAST labelmates. They've got the slick production, the soaring clean vocals in the choruses, and the heavy double-kick-driven verses with screaming rants. Place them right around, say, "Natural Born Chaos" era SOILWORK, with a dollop of nu-metal bounce and unswerving pop instincts.

Of course, to many harder-than-thou types, this sounds like a recipe for disaster. If you're one of those people, you can stop reading now, because RAUNCHY aren't even attempting to appeal to you. This is summertime metal, with the sort of accessible, wide-open singalong parts and airy keyboards that'd make for a great soundtrack to speeding on the highway with the windows down. Huge washes of keys augment the riffs, swelling to big fluffy crescendos, and everything is treated with tons of digital gloss, sanding off the rough edges of the band's death metal side.

The result is like a decadent Eurotrash FEAR FACTORY in places (lots of those staccato rhythms), or again, like the modern-day mutations of the class of Swedes that first brought all these poppier elements to the scene. Don't get me wrong, there's still quite a bit of death metal involved here — I'd say RAUNCHY are still a bit heavier than the usual Swede suspects are circa 2006, actually. It's just that when they go pop in a chorus, they go right off the cliff with it, making these delectably gooey parts that'll have metal purists apoplectic.

My only concern, as a big fan of their previous two records ("Confusion Bay" and "Velvet Noise", both well worth picking up), is a loss of identity. That is, if RAUNCHY continue on this path of one-upping the Swedes at their own game, they're gonna lose some of the goofy and unique charm they possessed on their earlier efforts. Not saying it's a big concern now, because "Death Pop Suicide" is a fine record in its own right — just something to watch out for in the future.

I dunno if it's their irritating name or what, but whatever the reason for RAUNCHY's lack of fame and fortune, it's not the music. These are accessible, enjoyable tunes that mix slick electro-pop with mechanistic death metal crunch, from a band that refuses to take itself too seriously or conform to anyone's genre boundaries. Let go of your metal phobias and give 'em a chance.


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