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The Head And The Heart Likes It. - 88%

Perplexed_Sjel, November 28th, 2008

The concept of Neurosis inspired sludge bands isn’t strange. In fact, the 21st century has seen an influx of bands who mould their music around the ideas that Neurosis have laid down, despite being an evolutionary band who change with each record they produce. Neurosis are considered pioneers of this sub-genre and even so, like many of the modern day black metal bands, for example, they do take influence from the early second wave material, but they put their own unique spin on proceedings. Its one thing being able to clone a style, but its another concept altogether being able to take influence from that style and twisting it into a new shape that remains unheard of until this point in existence. I don’t considering Deadbird to be revolutionary, but I consider them to be intricate in the way they shape their music and unfold it. Bands like Deadbird seek to take influence from bands like Isis and Neurosis in terms of conjuring atmospherically diverse records and spraying their own emotions over the top like a nice new coating of glossy paint. There are those who have become tired of the uninspired masses who produce similar records to Neurosis, right down to the T. In fact, a number of metal fans steer clear of this particular genre due to the fact that it consists of too many ‘clones’. Perhaps its just my current aggressive mood that is suited to the projections Deadbird set about portraying, but I like it. ‘The Head And The Heart’ is a metaphorical record in two ways to me. First, the head says that this is Neurosis inspired and nothing more, but the heart is more inclined to believe that the concept of sublimity should be applied to the instrumentation, that the pain produced by the subtle soundscapes is more effecting than the harsher soundscapes, drive by the distorted tales of the guitars. The sense of anguish is certainly more accessible than the aggressiveness depending on your mood, but both are equally important to the showcase of lyrics. Second, the intricate nature of sludge bands who comfortably mix shallow aggressive heaviness and emotional depth manage to fixate the mind on these accessible and viable contrasting styles. The heart is torn to shreds by the sublime sections of empathy and ecstasy, in this case, two contrasting motions again. Deadbird’s debut, ‘The Head And The Heart’ is influenced by the regular proprietors of the genre, Isis (particular early-mid era) and Neurosis (mid era mostly). It switches between these two and also takes elements from associated bands, like Rwake, and contributes them to the effort, which doesn’t go unnoticed. Of course, whilst that may be the case, instruments like the bass do often get overlooked, and that traits continues on this piece, which is unfortunate.

As aforementioned, the satisfaction to be gained from records like these is the contrast in performance which dwells deep within the soundscapes and which is due to an ability to handle pressure and perform to high standards in terms of song writing, which requires strength and is clearly delivered by the debutant band. If we take songs like ‘Eclipse Of The Rye’ which uses Isis-inspired vocals which collapse and crush the listener beneath their unfaltering screams of dread and woe, alongside sparse clean vocals which compliment the aggressiveness well, and heavy instrumentation in terms of the two guitars on offer and percussion which allows an extreme amount of double bass and variation to inspire the aggressive tendencies within the soundscapes. Now blend this style with the emotive portrayal of ‘1332’, an acoustically driven instrumental splicing (just to add something different to the mixture) which conjures within the listener a sense of contrasting cold grief and warm empathy. Unsurprisingly, there is some formulation applied to the instrumentation. Two guitarists are used for the heavier sections particularly well, playing together in tangent and performing in allegiance like combatant countries, seeking their independence, freedom and glory from occupation. Often, especially when the soundscapes are slowed down during songs like ‘See You In The Hot Country’, the band really begins to resemble that slow trudging Neurosis sound that stirs a vast array of emotions beneath the surface and then builds to a more ferocious sound. The production is good and typically sludge-like, producing that muggy feel that makes the listeners imagination feel like its slowly pacing through mud and extreme landscapes to reach a divine path of beauty. The imagination is often restricted by sludge bands because it’s a style that doesn’t afford too much exploration unless you include acoustics, clean vocals and a diverse range of respectable soundscapes. Thankfully, Deadbird do so and to great effect. ‘Rorschach Sky’ is the perfect example of the best Deadbird has to offer. Conjuring an inexplicable and intricate range of emotions, from a deep set anger to beauty which is set in stone forever more. The guitarists, although rather limited in their approach at times, like to switch between the harsh and the melodic, the latter stage being more suited to me. There is something so simplistic about Deadbird that is carried over into the listener that makes them like this honest approach. It isn’t a carven copy of any aforementioned band, though it does take a heavy influence from them. However, seeing as I enjoy the aforementioned bands, that cannot surely be a bad thing.