Album Reviews : DEAD – THUNDAAAAAH!
Melbourne’s DEAD are a sludge/punk duo who have years of experience playing in the Australian music scene, though they’ll never tell you that. That band consists of Jem on drums and Jace on bass/vocals and.. that’s it. The entirety of DEAD’s rather epic sound on their debut “THUNDAAAAAH!” emanates from these two members. As a result the album has a very bass driven sound, much like their Brisbane contemporaries No Anchor’s Real Pain Supernova. However DEAD have quirkiness that No Anchor lack, with certain sonic elements more akin to Big Business and the Melvins. The bass player does an excellent job of filling the melodic gap left by their lack of a guitarist with aggressive yet melodic bass riffs and aggressive vocals, while the drummer does a superb job of keeping the groove machine going, an important aspect for a band that is essentially a rhythm section.
The first half of the album has a very punk/hardcore feel to it, with shorter songs like “You Just Lost My Appetite” and “Preventable Disease”. Things take a turn for the weird (but certainly not worse) with the fourth track, “Wherever You Go We Will Catch You”. It starts off slower than the other songs and even features some whistling. It’s a touch reminiscent of those strange ten minute tracks of the Melvins, like “Lividity” or “Spread Eagle Beagle”, weird and kind of out place, but enjoyable none the less.
The album now takes a turn towards a slow sludgey sound, starting with the slow, ominous instrumental “We Don’t Take Advice”. It sets the mood for the nine minute funk epic, “Prick Rodeo”, which is one of the longer and better songs on the record. It starts off with an undeniable groove that DEAD just jam on, Jace throwing in a couple of awesome bass riffs before his screamed doom vocals burst through the insatiable rhythm. Suddenly the funk is brought to a stop, and replaced with a menacing downtempo section, with Jace doing his impression of the singer from Big Boys. The song marches to its own end at this pace, slow, steady and rather doomy.
This sluggish pace is continued by the next song, “Of All The People I Hate Most I Hate You More”, a song of pure misanthropic doom and rained out sludge. The song marches along, the singer’s vocals fuzzed up and blurred in the background, building a whole dark and tense atmosphere around the song as it ploughs to its finish after eight minutes of slow, snail paced movement.
The last track is a cover of The Stranglers’ “Shut Up” and features an awesome bass solo, and is a rather quirky and interesting way to bring the album to a close.
DEAD have managed to fuse punk and sludge together on a single record, and it works surprisingly well. There are plenty of fast in your face songs, and plenty of slow doomy songs. If you enjoy the Melvins, Big Business and No Anchor, then I must insist you find a copy of this record. It’s not a decision you will regret. 9/10
Origin: Melbourne, Australia
1. You Just Lost My Appetite
2. Preventable Disease
3. The Cat Who Breathes Colours
4. Wherever You Go We Will Catch You
5. We Don’t Take Advice
6. Prick Rodeo
7. Of All The People I Hate Most I Hate you More
8. Shut Up (Stranglers cover)
9. Of All The People I Hate Most I Hate You More (alternative ending)