Monday, December 15, 2008


DEADSEA – “Deadsea” CD ’07 (Chrome Leaf, US) – Don’t you hate it when some music critic type guy says something like “Columbus, Ohio, known for a music scene involving bands like The Stapler, who completely defy categorization….” I mean, what the fuck is that, right? “Defy categorization!” Sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me…except for the fact that it’s the truth, as the Columbus scene really has generated some maxi-wild stuff: Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du, The Replacements, Monster Truck Five and hell, yeah, The Stapler in recent times. So, I suppose it figures that a metal band from there might have an air of the different, the odd, the askew about it. And indeed…although that may be a bit of an understatement when it comes to DEADSEA, for I’ve gotta say that this trio probably have the word “askew” stamped in large black, block letters across their foreheads, groins & God knows where else. I never knew George Washington and I know I’m no friggin’ George Washington but I cannot tell a lie. I’m stealing this next premise from the cool dude who runs when I say that other than the sweeping broadstroke of “metal,” I cannot find a genre that can hold these suckers. You see, in the space of the 6:14 of initial cut “Northwitch,” this trio dips their feet in everything from Iron Maiden to Scandinavian black metal to Rush to Slough Feg. Well, perhaps that’s not completely fair as rather than dip their feet, they more so jump in with big boots, sending cascades of ideas raining down on the listener in rivulets of originality that would make most of their contemporaries blanch. And, it doesn’t stop there for these 3, who I’ll now stop to name…shit, I’ve never done this before! Is this breaking new ground? What the hell, here we go!
Adam Smith - electric & acoustic guitars, arp and moog synthesizers, tapes, vocals.
Alex Conley – electric & fretless basses
Jeremy Spears – drums
As a little bit of an aside…have you ever noticed that when album credits list some dude on “fretless bass,” either they are going to seriously nail some butt or completely make pompous asses out of themselves. Here’s a clue…DEADSEA ain’t no asses. This is butt-nailin’ time!
But I digress…and…I repeat myself when I digress, I repeat myself when I digress, I repeat myself when I digress…I repeat…. Anyway, like I was saying, the fun doesn’t end with “Northwitch.” Oh no, people, for then comes stuff like “Coming Home,” “Killing Faith (Crying Death)” and the 1:30 ramrod of “Assault.” Blinding thrash, crazed black metal wailing, and then seemingly incongruous pauses, or should I say…could I say…sinuous melds from blind aggression into gorgeous, swirling melodies such as happens during the 4 minutes of “Vampyre’s Kiss.” Would this be enough? Probably for most people, the laymen, those who walk on the periphery of rock music and are amazed by the intricacies of Coheed and Cambria. Humpf. Would they be ready for the 27 MINUTE BARRAGE of the last 2 songs?!?!? Nah. “Frozen Rivers,” 16+ minutes of twists, turns and switchbacks, hanging on for dear life as the 3-wheeled motor-cart of DEADSEA swerves ever closer to the precipice on each successive hairpin, guitar melodies suspended in the air like a breathy mist, laced over the barbed wire violence of metallic bloodshed. All this and surgical precision, too! It’s like a sweet nightmare you never want to wake up from. Then, to sooth your soul, which has been ripped wide open like a gaping wound by the musically rich carnage that’s gone before, the nearly 11 minutes of “The Morning Frost” arrive on the horizon. Here, Adam Smith (who is clearly the brain trust of DEADSEA…although his 2 mates are no pikers) spreads layers of luscious guitar colourings, harmonies & melodies through the course of this mammoth instrumental…and you feel so calm…until, when you thought it was over, the cut erupts into a final burst of chugging, railroad-spike thrash that cracks every centimeter of your skull that had been left intact and...the album comes to a close.
Listen up, people. This disc came out in 2007 and I just found out about it. And, already I’ve included it on the ‘Realm as a Grand Halls piece. That should tell you something. And, while I’m still very comfortable with my pick for last year’s album of the year going to Against Nature, I’m not sure this one wouldn’t have given it a run for it’s money. So, do what you have to do. The only thing I can tell you is, if you’re from around the Baltimore area, get your laptop out because there wasn’t a copy of this bitch to be had at any record store in the area so it’s Amazon or eBay time. 9.5

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