Dead Neon: Dead Neon

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Dead Neon: Dead Neon
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Dead Neon: Dead Neon
Doom Metal
Self-release, Ecophagy Records
August 15th, 2010
Release length: 28:34
Myspace
Website
Dead Neon is a three-piece Doom Metal band from Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s unclear when the group formed, but the band has issued a self-produced debut EP, entitled Dead Neon, and it feeds off the sudden interest in post-apocalyptic themes and concepts one might find in classic films like Mad Max, or even in today’s popular games such as Fallout, but taking a clearly Doom Metal approach instead of the more commonly associated Punk embrace. This leads to a very interesting and atmospheric release from the band, and a pretty inexpensive one at that, if you don’t mind digital media of course.

For Dead Neon, the band has incorporated a Doom Metal sound with a slight Rock feel to it, giving it a great edge that will sometimes give off vibes of a final showdown feel, such as a stand off in a film between rival gangs. This is exactly what you will feel with the track “Downwinder”, which is set up nicely through the introduction to this post-apocalyptic world laid out on “Advisory (Go to the Boneyard)” thanks to it’s description of the land you’re entering, as well as it’s harsh conditions, told through a general announcement as if from a speaker system set up in an encampment. All of this gets the listener’s hopes up until the track “Cratered”, which is a much slower paced song that, in the end, seems like a bit of stretch lyrically, as well as even musically, and doesn’t seem to quite fit the release from the first two tracks, and especially after later listens.

The music itself has a very raw and harsh feel to it that matches the wasteland setting the band establishes through “Advisory (Go to the Boneyard)”. The distortions utilized on the guitars makes the material just sound crushing, which is nicely enhanced by the more raw production quality that will bring back thoughts of early Black Sabbath, which clearly plays a heavy influence in some of the recordings on here, especially on “Irradiated Heart”. The vocals used could be a little better though, as they sometimes clash against the music. The rhaspy vocals are altered to sound digital and reflect against the setting, as well as to capture the whole use of “Neon” in the bands name, as if the lyrics are being spouted by someone who is running some kind of giant circus of debauchery and death in these wastelands. While for many tracks, these vocals work superbly, giving a harsh feeling to the atmospherically desolate music, it’s when the music really slows down that it comes off as purely irritating due to how bad it clashes, and the digital altering and echo effects become more booming and dominant, mostly thanks to the energetic performance that shouldn’t be on such somber tracks. “Cratered” and “Irradiated Heart” are the perfect examples of this, and while the latter track is often interesting, these will more likely be the two songs skipped over on future releases.

Another interested bit about this release is that most of the songs seem to bleed into one another. While some tracks, such as “Black Ash” into “Wastelandesque” seem to have a slight bit of silence, plenty of these tracks manage to continue from where the last one left off without any real gap in between, and it just makes the release sound like a musical translation of a film, or at least the soundtrack of a short film that makes up the entire audio. Each track on here feels natural, and there’s often a nice, natural flow between the two tracks, though the songs seem to stop bleeding into one another after “Black Ash”. This doesn’t take away from the magic of the release, but it was definitely one of the highlights of the recording since it gave it a much more raw feeling, like the band recorded a rehearsal or live performance, or just did it in one take, which would best suit the whole post-apocalyptic feeling of the release, and the albums overall raw production.

In short, Dead Neon has a few speed bumps along the way, but it’s an insane thrill ride through the wastelands of an apocalyptic future. This EP doesn’t quite make it to thirty minutes, but it’s done well enough that you’ll come back again and again to visit the ruins and madness outlined on this release. The album is available in two different formats, the first being a cassette pressing from the record label, or [at the time of this review] you can even go to the band’s website and stream, even download the entire EP for free, so there’s absolutely no reason to not check out this atmosphere-rich recording. Of course, for the full effect, it would be better to check out the cassette format to experience it without a huge digital influence. Either way, the debut Dead Neon EP is not a release to be missed, and clearly, there is no reason to pass by this promising, fantastic post-apocalyptic Doom Metal effort.

01. Advisory (Go to the Boneyard!) – 2:06
02. Downwinder – 2:48
03. Cratered – 3:03
04. Irradiated Heart – 2:53
05. Black Ash – 2:08
06. Wastelansque – 2:37
07. Doom Town – 2:47
08. Cancer Eater – 3:17
09. 100 Suns – 3:20
10. Ride the Light – 2:10

Overall Score: 7/10
Dead Neon (band)
Dead Neon (logo)Digital review copy of this release provided by Ecophagy Records.