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Pump Up the Volume 

On Death by Stereo.

It started as a garage band -- literally, in a garage. In 1998, five friends began experimenting with sound -- loud, aggressive sound, a bracing concoction of punk, hardcore and metal. Out of the same Southern California scene that sired Korn and the Offspring came a new contender to rally the troops while challenging the status quo. That's the idea behind Death by Stereo. Do they accomplish these lofty goals? Do they fill the order of the day? Determine for yourself on Wednesday night at Fat Tuesday's as the Orange County lads attempt to set your hump day ablaze.

After releasing a debut (If Looks Could Kill I'd Watch You Die) in 1999, signing to Epitaph (for 2001's Day of the Death) and enduring the usual lineup adjustments (they're currently on their third drummer), a quintet emerged: Efrem Schulz (vocals), Paul Miner (bass), Jim Miner (guitar), Dan Palmer (guitar) and Todd Henning (drums). They have recently produced the band's latest offering, Into the Valley of Death. The title seems to reflect Death by Stereo's willingness to take the hard road to success, a road devoid of corporate corruption rest areas and easy-to-discern traffic signals, where your own vision is your guide and your artistic integrity provides the horsepower. The music -- if not entirely original-sounding -- is certainly uncompromisingly brutal, furious, ear-smashing and tempered with a tincture of dark humor that surfaces within paranoid titles such as "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things," "Good Morning America" and "You're a Bullshit Salesman with a Mouthful of Samples."

Appropriate ear protection is advised.

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