posted on 3/2008 By:
N.W.O.C.H.M.? New Wave of Columbus Heavy Metal? Really? I don't mean to start things off by immediately razzin' these dudes, but who exactly is in charge of deciding where all these New Waves in Metal are sprouting from recently? There's so many gat-damned "new waves", I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Jeff Spicoli and crew geared up at the next metal show.
Spicoli: "What Halford was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto - we'll just be bogus too! Get it?"
Me: "Oh yeah, man! Wow!! That's why they made Turbo! To be bogus!! I get it now!"
*both hit skulls with Van sneakers*
Well, apparently Deadsea are part of the burgeoning N.W.O.C.M. scene: something that sho'-as-shit seemed to be missing when yours truly lurked the streets of Columbus back when I "went to college" (and by "went to college", I mean drank buckets of beer and got thrown out of Mean Mr. Mustard's for two years). Anyway, New Wave crazes aside, Deadsea actually trumpet a much more important trend currently celebrated within nearly every facet of our genre: progression.
Forget about your 'core, Viking, or folk-infusions, people, the hippest trend in heavy metal right now seems to be its insistence on being progressive: "Less focus on traditional verse/chorus/bridge and more emphasis on complex compositions and extended instrumental explorations in an attempt to elevate music to new levels of artistic credibility", as summarized through Allmusic.com. And that pretty much sums up this self-titled release, and Deadsea, very nicely.
Much like seemingly everything else that's come across my desk lately, this record is all over the bloody board, musically. Plop this puppy in your player and you'll hear it dip and turn from various forms of heavy metal to progressive rock, jazz and expansive jaunts of airy rock at any given moment throughout its 48-minutes. But the essential core of Deadsea is built on a foundation of (roughly) Mastodon-styled metal flanked on either end by evil-hearted thrash and long stretches of breezy, relaxed rock...or something. Fuck, I don't even know any more; there are almost too many influences that pop into mind at any given moment here, and it kinda makes my head spin, to be honest.
The Mastodon influence is most obvious in flashes, such as the 3:45 mark into "Vampyre's Kiss", or about 20-seconds into "Coming Home", but I think it's a pretty safe assumption that if you dig on Mastodon/Baroness styled metal, you're gonna find some stuff here to grab a hold of. Offsetting this bright, crisp style, however, are moments aplenty where Deadsea bash your fuckin' brain in with some decidedly LA-styled thrash/pre-death metal to help dirty things up -- not only musically, but in Adam Smith's vocal delivery as well (I love this guy's vocals: smooth and easy when it's quiet, evil and grating when it's time to kill). The barbarism is most apparent, however, during the album's undoubted highlight: the one-two punch of "Killing Faith (Crying Death)" and "Assault". "Killing Faith" is a genuinely aggressive tune that couples the evilness and shreddage of early Possessed with the swirling fury and pedal-to-the-metal facepunch of an old Macabre record. Just listen to how unbelievably furious that fucking bass maps the riffing!! Seriously! Like the guy's molesting the strings with a damned drill press or something! Just fantastically brutal. And it bleeds wonderfully into "Assault", the shortest tune on the record, which will get you fired up to pummel some smiles upside-down by the time the gang-shouted chorus of "Assault! Assault! Assault! Assaaaauuult!!!" hits your face.
"Frozen Rivers" and "The Morning Frost" close out the record on a loooong note (15-minutes and 9-minutes long, respectively), and find Deadsea mostly abandoning the brutal in favor of a more breezy, summery feel. "Frozen Rivers" spends most of its time slow and mellow with Smith's clean, relaxed vocals spotlighted (sort of the way I've always wished Foo-Fighters would sound, as strange as that might look on paper), and "The Morning Frost" flexes some really beauteous acoustic guitar work and some handy fretless bass as well.
Pretty cool record, actually. While I wouldn't consider myself to be too big a fan of the crisp Mastodon style, Deadsea hook me because of their frequent dips into classic aggressive metal to help dirty things up and give this endeavor a healthy notch of good ol' e-e-e-evil. And I've always been a fan of strange progressive music, so that element also ensured this album a place in my top rotation the last few weeks. Admittedly, there are times when the avantgarde elements could be trimmed in favor of more cruelty (mostly on the long jam), but all-in-all, I'd say Deadsea has definitely crafted something worthwhile and interesting with this self-titled sophomore effort. Recommended especially for the more open-minded metal fan.
Register to post comments.