Reasonable Doubt - _Built to Resist_
(Casket Music, 2007)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (7.5 out of 10)
Built on an admixture of classic melodic leads, screamo vocals, double bass mosh pit breakdowns and alt-rock vocal patternings, Reasonable Doubt are devout representatives of what has come to be known as the New Wave of American Heavy Metal (we're getting a little blasé in our genre monikers these days, n'est ce pas?). Favoring clean, precision riffs with catchy choruses offering a marked contrast to neo-hardcore verses, Reasonable Doubt are in a class of thousands. Good thing they're not half bad.

The way I see it, there are two approaches to this style of music: a) bands staunchly rooted in the metal and hardcore scenes that want to liven things up a bit by including elements not usually associated with extreme music (typically cribbed from either the alternative or hip hop scenes); and b) bands that are at heart mainstream rock or pop-punk but want to toughen up their image through incorporation of bits and pieces of heavier genres. I'll leave aside arguments of authenticity or whether one approach is inherently superior to the other, but only one of the two angles is appropriately covered by CoC, and that would be the former group. Reasonable Doubt obviously belong in that group, otherwise there would be no review in which to discuss this little dichotomy. But it's an important distinction to make: group a) fans usually loathe group b) bands and vice versa.

With the kind of market saturation currently abounding in this arena, NWOAHM bands live or die on the strength of their songwriting. Chops are a must: sloppy pickers and drummers that can't execute a double bass roll need not even apply. "Ground Level" finds _Built to Resist_ off to a pretty snappy start with an astute attention to alternating vocal dynamics and dual guitar harmonies. "Before the End of Time" rehashes those same elements (they all do, actually) but fleshes them out with catchier melodies and even more memorable riffing. "A New Hope" is a "Headbanger's Ball"-worthy stab at a hit single. Fans of Killswitch Engage and Black Dahlia Murder will find much about to Reasonable Doubt to brag on.


(article published 8/3/2007)

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