At this stage of the game, when you hear that a band plays metalcore, all you can tell for sure is that it will have a name like Malevolent Chaos Hour When We Die. Chicago's Dead to Fall doesn't deserve the vague tag; it's a straight-up metal band, brought to us by Victory Records, a label that's done as much as any to destroy the wall between metal and hardcore.
Unlike its hybrid brothers, Dead to Fall relies on technical prowess over formula. Their latest, Villainy & Virtue, has the staple metalcore elements -- three-minute break-down sessions from hardcore, Cookie Monster burps from metal -- but even more impressive than the double-bass blasts is their Eurometal fretwork. So dedicated is the Chicago quintet to traditional thrash that it's helping bring back the term mosh, which in the late '80s was hesher slang for "full-contact slamdancing inspired by hardcore's ritual violence, but without its intrinsic regard for rhythm."