Wednesday, 21 November 2012

DEAD - Idiots

Melbourne two-piece, DEAD are about to embark on an 18 show tour around the country on the back of their new album, Idiots. With them will be Vaz, from Brooklyn, NY. Featuring two members of Hammerhead, a criminally underrated band from the 1990's Amphetamine Reptile roster, Vaz build on that legacy to play a unique brand of driving, sarcasm-fueled, off-kilter noise rock. Check out their album, Chartreuse Bull here.

We'll be getting a taste of the madness in Canberra on Wednesday 28 November, when this ridiculously exciting double header will be teaming up with local sludge/punk/grind fiends The Reverend Jesse Custer, who will also have their shiny new 10" in tow.

But back to DEAD. On their first album, THUNDAAAAAH! and the couple of times I've seen them live, Jace (bass/vocals) and Jem (drums/vocals) consistently belt out a raw, primitive racket that hits like a sledgehammer to the guts. They haven't done too much to mess with the format on Idiots, and that's a good thing. Their music hits hard because there isn't really anything to distract from the force they put into it - it's just two blokes throwing everything they can at their instruments.

However, that's not to say what DEAD produce is one-dimensional - they can pack a lot into their songs. For example, the opening track on Idiots, "The Carcass is Dry" begins like some kind of minimalist art film soundtrack until the neck-breaking bass riff cuts in to introduce a battering snare and scathing growl that in turn gives way to an open rhythm and strained melodic wail. The empty horror of "Murder Hollow" works because the gravelly sustain of the bass, the ringing out of the cymbal and the hazy drawl of guest vocalist Linda J Dacio are all allowed to overlap and hang in the spaces. The sound on Idiots is clearer than on THUNDAAAAAH! so those kinds of contrasts are pretty well defined, but it's not like these guys have any intention of diluting the stripped-back ferocity of their music.

DEAD's stock-in-trade in a live setting is that bottom-feeding groove, and that's here in spades too. "Inherit the Wind" is an absolute rager, and "UP!" offers a dirty mid-paced rumbling bass line that would make Unsane proud. The album ends with the 11 minute "Lego Men", which sounds to me like it could have been inspired by spacing out to the Melvins - and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Have a look at DEAD's website: Listen to/buy Idiots here or at the shows.


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