Dead By Sunrise
Bands have a sound and image. Fans have expectations. Messing with either can lead to trouble or even be a career ender.
While writing songs in '05 for "Minutes To Midnight" Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington realized some of his compositions weren't stylistically right for the band.
Rather than shelve the material Bennington sought another creative outlet.
He began working with the group Julien-K with the idea of recording a solo album. Along the way, Bennington, with Julien-K backing, performed "Let Down" for the ReAct Now: Music & Relief TV concert. Then they teamed up for "Morning After" on the "Underworld Evolution" soundtrack. From this and studio work the project morphed into a band.
"We've developed a very unique style that . . . has its own identity," explained Bennington. "That's the reason why we ended up changing [the name] from Chester Bennington to Dead By Sunrise." However, guitarist Ryan Shuck referred to Dead By Sunrise as "Chester's Julien-K."
Going back to the late '80s/early '90s, Shuck was in Sexart with future KoRn frontman Jonathan Davis. Going in a different direction (to say the least) he joined the synth rock band Orgy which also had guitarist Amir Derakh (Davidson). The two launched Julien-K as a side project. But even side projects have side projects. Derakh and Julien-K/Dead By Sunrise bassist Brandon Belsky DJ under the moniker of JK DJS.
Shuck knew Bennington long before Dead By Sunrise and had been a fan of his songs going back to "Hybrid Theory." "I always used to go to his house and hear him play acoustic guitar," said Shuck. "And I thought to myself, 'Oh my God, these are such good songs'."
Before becoming Dead By Sunrise, the band called themselves Snow White Tan - as in not getting outside much or at least during daylight hours. "I came up with the band name because in the beginnings of making this album, I was partying ... we'll call it partying. It wasn't much fun, but we partied a lot," said Bennington.
"I was kind of in a really self-destructive place, and sometimes it felt like you weren't sure if you were going to make it to the next day," added the singer. "The name (Dead By Sunrise) kind of evolved from that lifestyle, and the title of the record, "Out Of Ashes," is kind of coming out of that self-destructive path I was on, and rising from the ashes, so to speak."
Recording the group's debut began in July, '08. Bennington worked on the album when he wasn't contributing to Linkin Park's "New Divide." Then Dead By Sunrise toured Europe and Japan with Linkin Park and Bennington performed with both. "Out Of Ashes" arrived in October, '09.
It's something of a surprise, though it probably shouldn't be considering the songs were originally written using an acoustic guitar, but nearly half the tracks on "Out Of Ashes" are downtempo. "Too Late," a drama ballad, is the most entertaining. "Walking In Circles" makes the cut too.
The set opens with a great little mainstream Rock song, "Fire." The lead single "Crawl Back In" has a tougher sound, then, following "Too Late," comes the screamer "Inside Of Me." Build toward the climax was obviously the mantra.
"My Suffering" picks up where "Inside Of Me" left off and Bennington does an accomplished Alice Cooper on "Condemned."
According to Bennington "Out Of Ashes" has "emotionally deadly tracks that draw feelings on intense anger, disconnection and depression." Actually, it's not nearly as bleak as Bennington makes it out to be. The album drives hard, or at least half of it, with enough Bennington angst to keep its' hold.