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Album Reviews : DEAD – Idiots

By on February 1, 2013

3710033096-1Do you remember when you first heard the intro to Metallica‘s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”? Maybe, like I did, you though “hey that’s a cool guitar riff”, only to have your wiser and more cultured friend inform you that it was, in fact, a bass riff. The suddenly realisation that the bass guitar could be played in such a way, that the bass guitar need not be a background instrument, was a bit of a shock to me. This experience, of hearing bass playing that is the main attraction, reoccurs constantly on DEAD‘s newest album Idiots. DEAD is a Melbourne based sludge/punk duo featuring Jace on bass and Jem on drums, and their lack of additional instrumentation forces Jace to approach riff writing from a fairly different angle. Idiots, the band’s second full length, burns out in under forty minutes and is a much harder hitting effort then their previous release, THUNDAAAAH! 

Setting the recording spinning doesn’t reveal much at first, as a light cymbal patter and some spooky noise drift from the speakers. Then the bass comes in: crunchy, thick and loud. From there on the opening track, “The Carcass is Dry” descends into chaos, functioning as the soundtrack to a magnitude ten earthquake.  The band keeps things more direct for the rest of the record, keeping the introductions short, and the noisy expositions furious. Tracks like “Couldn’t Keep His Mouth Shut” hit on a touch of Shellac, with a sparse mid-range crunchy sound.

While DEAD are playing faster on this record, the appreciation for the slow and ominous remains, coming out in tracks like the aptly named “Murder Hollow” and “Lego Men” both of which come across as attempts to channel the wandering. bemoaning spirit of the Melvins. On the other hand, songs like “Bed Bugs” and “Inherit the Wind” are fast paced, showing off DEAD’s punk influences. “Bed Bugs” starts out with riff a touch reminiscent of Iron Maiden‘s “Flash of The Blade”, before drifting off into more traditional DEAD territory. “Bed Bugs” wanes and waxes in direction and ideas at an alarming rate, and Jem’s drumming on this track is slotted somewhere between flashy and chaotic, but undeniably spot on.

There is a problem with describing DEAD’s sound. DEAD sound like DEAD. A frustrating tautology, but there’s no other way to phrase it. You can hear the Melvins’ influence on DEAD, but DEAD don’t sound like the Melvins. There’s a touch of Shellac’s mid range crunch, but that’s not the best comparison to make. The band is different from the other bass heavy bands of Australia (notably No Anchor). DEAD are similar but different to these bands, and on Idiots, more so than on THUNDAAAAH! , DEAD have truly nailed down the lid on what can only be described as “the DEAD sound.”

At the end of the day, DEAD’s Idiots is an awesome album. Not great. Not good. Awesome. Superb. Varied, fun, engaging and ear shatteringly loud (if you want it to be) Idiots is a record for the fans of where the thick and ‘sludgey’ meets the fast and ‘punky’. Don’t be a fool, get your grubby mittens on a copy of DEAD’s Idiots, or you’ll be the idiot(s)!

Band: DEAD
Album: Idiots
Year: 2012
Genre: Sludge/Punk
Label: WeEmptyRooms
Origin: Melbourne, Australia

Track listing:
1. The Carcass Is Dry
2. Couldn’t Keep His Mouth Shut
3. UP!
4. Murder Hollow
5. Bed Bugs
6. Inherit the Wind
7. Lego Men


In between a busy schedule of studying, procrastination and sleeping Duncan sometimes writes album reviews. When not pretending to know things about music, he pretends to know things about the world over at Sudden Reason.