Melodic European riffs? Harsh vocals? Clean choruses? With the metalcore scene as glutted now as rap-rock was not long ago, there's gonna be a residual prejudice against Texas hopefuls DRYLINE right off the bat. They may be coming late to the party, but don't count them out without giving them a listen first — they add nothing new to the genre, but their writing and performance show a lot of heart and potential.
They wisely keep the clean vocals to a minimum, the songs short, and the emphasis on death metal singing and open, expansive guitar melodies. There's an energy here, too, which is infectious — a song like "Screaming Because He's On Fire" is fairly standard-issue, but it ends up being greater than the sum of its parts because it never drags, even when the tempo slows down in the midsection. The acoustic piece "Needless to Say", right in the middle of the record, belies the band's young age — as a split between sides one and two, and a nice interlude before "Touch For Sore Hands", one of the more intense songs on the CD, it makes for a dynamic and varied listen.
Sometimes it's hard to put your finger on why one young, fairly derivative band stands out above the endless flow of mediocre new releases. Whatever that unknown quantity is, though, DRYLINE has it — again, nothing you hear on "Reach for the Surface" will set your world on fire. But it's a solid, well-crafted melodic death metal feast, with great guitar parts, memorable songs and a confidence that's hard to deny. If they can work their way out from the crowd and catch a break or two, something tells me these guys will be leading, not following, before much longer.