Release DetailsLABEL Codebreaker Records
RELEASED ON 3/21/2005
The Head And The Heart
posted on 10/2005 By:
Last year may have seen new albums from genre godhead Neurosis, along with Isis and Cult of Luna, two of the bands that have built from their shoulders, but 2005’s crop of music has been not only abundant, but remarkably consistent. The couple of higher profile releases have come from the fringes of the genre, like the lush drone of Justin Broadrick’s Jesu and Pelican’s post-rock nirvana, rather than amongst the direct descendants. Most of the releases have come from a set of new (or newer) faces—including impressive efforts from Minsk, Overmars, Mouth of the Architect, Anubis Rising, Red Sparowes, and Vancouver, among others. Not a bad yield at all, and we haven’t even gotten to Codebreaker Records yet, who have quietly put together one hell of a year. Boasting strong efforts from Abandon, Figure of Merit, Zatokrev and, of course, Deadbird, the only thing Codebreaker is lacking is someone to land that knockout punch. But like my wife keeps reminding me, slow and consistent beats one hard and fast flash of glory, and although The Head and the Heart probably won’t push Deadbird to the front of the growing pack, like their labelmates, they’ve produced a damn fine album, and only a debut, at that.
Arkansas’ Deadbird features ex-Rwake guitarist Chuck Schaff on guitar and vocals (Brother Phillip shares vocal duties and plays drums), and although he hasn’t continued down an identical path, definite remnants have persisted. Deadbird’s take on the genre adds a wallop of heavy-ass sludge that gives the band’s mescaline dirges a very live, southern vibe. The inkblot clouds of “Rorschach Sky” drift from spine rattling distortion to eggshell melodies and a brief spoken word interlude that could have been lifted from Slint’s Spiderland. But those more artsy moments are precious few, even considering the occasional subtle use of ambient textures, and if you’ve found recent work by Overmars and Minsk to be a little too high falootin’, Deadbird’s gritty ethos may be up your alley. Regardless, a quiet moment with universal appeal is the haunting, Iommi-like guitar instrumental, “1332”, which brackets the exhaustive coda of “Mount Zero (is burning)” and the unusually rambunctious opening of “Illuminate the Decay”. Most of the songs clock in at about six minutes, considerably shorter than most in the genre, but Deadbird uses the time judiciously, cramming in plenty of shifts, but avoiding the longer hypnotic passages that again, are often found on affairs such as these. The Head and the Heart sets a tone of bleak desolation that is offset nicely by Schaff’s fuzzy, soulful lead work, which is sure to cause plenty of lateral headbanging. An impressive opening shot from a promising band; Deadbird is well worth investigating.
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