Friday 30 September 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Dead - "Untitle"

By: TJ Kliebhan

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 30/09/2016
Label: We Empty Rooms


“Untitle”track CD//DD//LP listing
1). Grizzly
2). Don’t Pray For Us
3). The Kid Was All Wong
4). Turning Screws
5). Line Em’ All Up
The Review: 
Sludge metal has not run out of ideas just yet. On its surface, the Australian duo’s latest “Untitle” could be accused of lacking color. The tones and atmosphere recall acts like The Melvins or Big Business, a sound hundreds of bands ape. What sets DEAD apart is their pacing. The arrangements are exquisitely layered incrementally, so rather than relying on a droning effect DEAD elects subtle changes in sound or effects added one at a time to build an ensemble of punishing heaviness. Their latest record displays an ambitious band on a goal to prove how multi-faceted they are.
Untitle” is album two of a four LP set the band is amusingly calling “The Trilogy.” It is not abundantly clear how “Untitle” relates to the first record, “Captains of Industry”, but the release continues DEAD’s brand of sludge metal accompanied by dark abstract themes. The album opens with “Grizzly”, a track that encompasses what the band does best while foreshadowing the record as a whole. The track begins softly and treads toward a noisy climax one sound at a time. The two halves of the song could not be more dissonant. While the first half uses an eloquently picked guitar and whispered vocals the second half utilizes shouted double-tracked vocals, a buzz saw of a bassline, and booming snare. DEAD has a knack for sounding methodical for one minute and completely unhinged the next.
The best example of this formula is on the last track, “Line ‘Em All Up”. As the minutes pass, more and more haunting noises creep toward the surface of the mix while the vocal harmonies drone on. The track’s low frequencies grumble at the bottom while the high pitched screeching guitars aggravate any soothing repetitive qualities that the bass and vocals provide. The tracks sandwiched between the aforementioned vary with elements of drone, noise, and heavy riffs. The band transitions through these sounds seamlessly and combines them for a powerful overall sound. The arrangements on “Untitle” are so meticulously well-crafted and varied it allows all five tracks to distinguish themselves clearly while contributing to an obvious overall sonic theme.
On “Untitle”, DEAD attempts a little bit of everything and works to see how they can make these different sounds cohesive. Similar to a release like “Lysol” or “Amplifier Worship” there are a lot of different elements and genres explored on a track by track basis and DEAD do all of them pretty well. Ambitious releases can sometimes feel bloated or disjointed, but DEAD avoid this by keeping the tracks relatively short (no track eclipses ten minutes) and track list short as well. All of the material feels essential to this release and contributes to the greater whole which is a dirty, ostentatious, diverse release.
Untitle” is available here
Band info: facebook