Thursday, 19 September 2013

DEAD - Idiots - Album Review

 DEAD: Idiots cover art

DEAD is a Sludge/Punk/Thrash Metal band from Australia

The Members are: Jem - drums + vox, Jace - Bass + vox

No holiday is complete without music, and my recent sabbatical to warmer climes has given me the chance to catch up on some truly demonic tunes. First to fill my ears with noise was Australia’s sludge/thrash/noise two-piece DEAD, and their offering ‘Idiots’. On first listening, DEAD remind me of Death From Above 1979, if they’d been injected with cocaine, given a Bowie knife and told to fend for themselves in the outback for a month. Then I listened to them a few more times, and found them to be filthy, at times jarring, yet strangely compelling to listen to.

After about two minutes of strange sonic experimentation, opener ‘The Carcass is Dry’ slaps in with a bass rhythm filthier than a sewage worker’s toilet brush. Added to this is some rather disjointed drumming, then the vocals growl their way into the mix like a wolf coming out from the shadows. As soon as these elements combine, a mighty explosion of noise and anger hits you, pushing you back into your seat with its sheer raw ferocity.

This aggressive first track is followed up by ‘Couldn’t Keep His Mouth Shut’, which has a bassline so Goddamn dirty it doesn’t so much as keep the rhythm as murkily stomp its own timeframe, to which the drums have to obey. The throaty cries from Jem (the drummer) and Jace (the bassist) of “please stop crying!” are at once both sinister and confrontational: they obviously want their victim to cry so they can suffer the consequences. A very raging tune indeed.

UP!’ spasms into life with a filthy drumbeat that slithers its way into your ear canal like some sludge-encrusted worm. The verses are like fuses, burning down to the powder keg choruses that simply pulverise you when they erupt. The frustration-laden shouts of “see how well you fuck this UUUUUUUUUP!” are just barbed and venomous. I bet their live shows are just crazy spectacles. The Aussies are lucky people to get to see them.

Murder Hollow’ begins with a slow, sludgy riff that sounds like it’s coming from the depths of a dark, blind alley; its siren call tempting to go further into the unknown. Then a slow, deliberate beat emanates behind you, and all too late you realise you’ve become trapped. You’ve been suckered, and now you are at the mercy of DEAD. The bass strides cockily towards you with Droog-like menace, the drums slinking beside it with teeth bared. As the threatening music has you cornered and makes to strike, it laughs in your face and melts back into the darkness, leaving you shaken and breathless.

You’re almost instantly snapped out of your unease when the bass intro to ‘Bed Bugs’ snaps and jitters into violent life. It’s a wild and frantic tune: the sonic depiction of a mosh pit in full flow. I have to say, both bass and drums are in fine form here: fast, frenetic and feverish, it’s a perfect tune to get your blood racing and your body moving. 
With 25-second drum intro, ‘Inherit the Wind’ bursts upon you with a spray of violent vocals and bristling basslines. The song itself has a body of hardcore punk with a spine of sludge, making it a very vicious-sounding beast.

Final track ‘Lego Men’ is a near-eleven minute aural odyssey of simmering aggression and strange, slow murk. Vocals only kick in near the four-minute mark, the lyrics meticulous and measured. It all adds to the feeling that you are being inexorably sucked down into a bog in the foggiest, most isolated swampland you can think of. A very dark and strange ending to a very dark and strange album.

DEAD is filth, and I say that in the most complimentary way possible. The two-piece are raw, pulsing with potential and brimming with evil talent. ‘Idiots’ is a crazy, weird, awesome LP, and worthy of any sludge aficionado’s attention. Get on it.

Written by Chris Markwell

Idiots is now available to buy from WeEmptyRooms Records.

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