Dead: Idiots

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Dead: Idiots
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Dead: Idiots
Hardcore, Sludge Metal
Eolian Empire
August 13th, 2013
Release length: 38:08
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Melboune, Australia’s Hardcore and Sludge Metal duo, Dead, have been picked up by Eolian Empire to issue their next album, Idiots. Formed in 2010, they issued their début full-length effort, Thundaaaaah themselves, and began touring across three different continents. About two years and countless dives later, Jace (bass and vocals) and Jem (drums and vocals) are ready to assault anyone and anything within listening distance. But, is Idiots an album worth listening to willingly, or is it far from an enjoyable and/or unique experience?

Dead wear their Karp and GodHeadSilo worship on their sleeves, as well as many others in the Punk, Aggro, and even Noise genres, which do take away from some of the unique elements this release desperately tries to convey. “The Carcass is Dry” has a bit of a unique start, using the cymbals more like wind chimes in an ominous setting with twisted notes played in the foreground, giving a truly crushing sensation of isolation and hallucinations one might expect in a desert. Two-and-a-half minutes later, the simple bass riffs erupt with a fast drum passage that would better reflect the non-existent guitar chords that leave this track literally dry and empty for the most part. Eventually the tempo picks up and the chords do become faster, matching the drumming that does slow down, filling in the gap that was previously so apparent and giving hope for the rest of the release. Aside the richer music towards the end, “Murder Hollow” carries a truly sinister and creepy tone to it that the empty audio and slower pace greatly thrive on. The additional female vocals that dominate the song suit it in sort of a noir bombshell manner as well, making it worth the trek to reach despite them being kind of bland.

Like the end of “The Carcass is Dry,” when the pace picks up, Idiots becomes a whole different experience. The shorter “Bed Bugs” finds a good deal of Progressive technicality in the bass chords and a solid build with the drumming, all reminiscent of something The Who would churn out. Once the intro ends, the music does thin a bit, but the mixture of mid-pitch and deeper tones give it a little more variety before the subtle boom of the drums kick back in to wrap things up with a stronger Sludge attitude. “Inherit the Wind” finds the drums the most important piece in the mix, really giving a slight tribal touch to the song while going hand-in-hand with the bass guitar to make the beat almost hypnotising. Finally there’s “UP!,” which simply cannot be ignored. This finds the empty music back at work once more, but the rhythm the twangy bass guitar performs is catchy enough to make it work with the random lyrics the two are shouting. The enthusiastic performance in the chorus is strong enough that it will make you forget all about the absence of any lead guitar. This is also one of the shorter tracks, letting the music flow naturally without beating you over the head with repetition and shifts that either work for or against the track overall.

A few years back, comedian Patton Oswalt made a joke about NPR having two college trust-fund students revive the lost art of throat singing, and then having an extended demonstration from them. This is what Idiots immediately reminded me of thanks to the overly crisp production quality and generally empty sound the the instruments gave off in some of the mundane performances. But, the more time I spent with it, the more I actually got it and found a few songs to stick out more than they did the first time around. But, this still doesn’t excuse the amount of idol worship on display, or some of the generally bland songs. Dead does a superb job at creating truly horrific atmospheres and asserting a Sludge Metal authority from time to time, and you can’t help but wonder how much more punishing the album as a whole would sound had it not been so hollow, but perhaps a lot more raw, rougher, maybe even with thicker distortions on the bass. In the end, Idiots is worth checking out, but even what tracks may grab you, immediately or eventually, aren’t impressive enough to have you leave this on repeat more than twice in an extended period of time.

01. The Carcass is Dry – 6:45
02. Couldn’t Keep His Nouth Shut – 3:50
03. UP! – 3:34
04. Murder Hollow – 5:34
05. Bed Bugs – 3:16
06. Inherit the Wind – 3:55
07. Lego Men – 11:14
Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10

Dead (band)

Digital review copy of this release provided by Eolian Empire via Earsplit PR.