When a nü-metal band decides it wants to be scary, who is it the band decides to scare? Its fans? Its fans' parents? Other nü-metal bands? Themselves? Embattled electro-goth outfit Deadsy doesn't offer any clues: Commencement, their new, long-delayed DreamWorks debut, turns early-'80s synth-pop into a gory prep-school horror show that's equal parts melodramatic Korn porn (Jonathan Davis guests on opener "The Key to Gramercy Park"), overheated prog chops (they cover virtually note for note Rush's "Tom Sawyer") and Bic-wagging power balladry (confounding every possible expectation, they run through Sebadoh leader Lou Barlow's "Brand New Love"). In terms of fist-pounding scare tactics, it's a mess, one that assumes far too much about the spooky brawn of minor-key synthesizer filigree and low-end woomph. But singer P. Exeter Blue I (also known as Elijah Blue, the son of Cher and Gregg Allman) brings a strangely compelling presence to the band; he's definitely picked up a sense of theater from his parents (his mom, anyway), and he uses his songs to advance a genuinely creepy Leopold-and-Loeb thing that has something to do with the politics of privilege and would likely make Fred Durst's head hurt. The final product, which Blue has called "just one big art project," is as confused as any of Blue's burly divorce-rock peers, but the conceptual potential is, if not inspiring, slightly frightening. Mission accomplished, then.
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