Dead Ringer

Everything about Dead Ringer -- from its name to its vaguely radical screeds to the shrill tone of its guitars -- screams generic. So it's to the band's credit that Let Freedom Ring, its debut full-length, takes such played-out elements and pounds them into something compelling. With obvious nods toward Good Riddance and Face to Face, the foursome infuses pop-punk with big doses of metal and hardcore, giving liftoff to singer/guitarist Joel Rossi's gruffly melodic tirades against hypocrisy, the government and, of course, the pitfalls of his own psyche. This is hardly the recipe for innovation, but apart from a pointless cover of "Suspicious Minds" that sounds way too similar to Avail's version of the Elvis classic, there's not a moment on the disc that doesn't feel sincere, impassioned, catchy and wholly credible. Freedom is more than a dead ringer for good punk rock; it's the real thing.


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