19 A.D.D
Dead River

Sure it may not be as impressive as being the “5th Beatle” ala George Martin, but being the 6th Cephalic Carnage ain’t too shabby either. Colorado based musician, sound-tech and all-around internerd Matt Blanks has made a decent name for himself contributing on the sonic support end for the well-regarded hydro-grinders, as well as assisting Mastodon on the web-site side of things. All the while he has been fairly prolific with his own varied musical projects, including mAd cOW who made an appearance on Relapse’s Drummachinegun compilation. It seems he has now put all his eggs in a basket called 19 A.D.D., an instrumental trio in which he plays bass and is joined by Jared Emery on guitars and Eric Pereira on drums. Dead River is their self-released debut and right off the bat, the dedication and care they put into this self release, from the excellent artwork to the rich tonal production is quite evident. 

The ongoing surge of instru-metal bands have seemingly divided themselves into three recognizable camps: you’ve got the slow and sludgy groups like Capricorns, Pelican and Switchblade, the proggy shred metal heroics of Animals as Leaders and Canvas Solaris, and the skronky off-kilter technicality of Dysrhythmia and Behold…the Arctopus. 19 A.D.D. seems to be attempting to be all things to all people on their debut, and seem possessed of the grit, the chops, and the lack of sanity required to pull off all three facets convincingly. Two other influences which seem to play a big role in these 15 pieces is the funk-fusion of Primus and Frank Zappa and the ‘traditional’ progressive metal of Atheist and Cynic and what you end up with is music that toes the line between spazzy kookiness and competent coherence: straight-forward and catchy enough to keep them listening, but experimental and adventurous enough to keep them guessing. 

Being comprised of three talented musicians helps the group avoid a lot of debut album mis-steps, and those that are worth mentioning, such as the obligatory layered sampling intros, interludes and outros that don’t really add much, and the fragmented, confusing nature of how the actual songs fit the tracklisting (apparently my favorite song is three different tracks?), do not detract terribly from the overall listening experience. What is most surprising is that within individual songs and over the course of the album, the band shifts gears between the influences referred to above frequently, but only rarely do these unorthodox transitions come off as anything less than seamless. Rather, 19 A.D.D. is quite adept at finding missing links between gooey sludgy riffs and hyper-shred arpeggios, plucky funk and cosmic cacophony. New bands can innovate by doing new things or by doing old things in new ways, but any such innovations are all for naught if the group doesn’t have the talent and vision to create something worth listening to. 19 A.D.D. is endlessly, sometimes miraculously, clever in blending their influences into a cohesive schizophrenia which results in an exciting and fun album which should have equal appeal to all schools of instru-metal fans. It would seem improbable, if not downright impossible to ask them to rein in some of their more experimental excesses without restraining the aggressive creative spirit that permeates this release, so take Dead River for what it is, and enjoy one of the more energetic and unpredictable debuts of 2009.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
December 17th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Mark

    WOW i went to thier homepage, and they have a mp3 player that lets you listen to their tunes. And I must say I’m totally impressed. I will have to try and get this album as soon as possible.

  2. Commented by: matt

    Thanks for the great review John! If anyone who reads this review wants to order a cd, email us at 36@19add.com and we’ll make sure to include some goodies!

  3. Commented by: mike

    I saw these guys play in Portland last June…one of the tightest bands I’ve ever seen. Didn’t know they had a CD out!

  4. Commented by: LongDeadGod

    Excellent stuff, im glad i read this review and checked out the band, will be placing an order after the holidays.

  5. Commented by: Jeremy & Tandra Wilcox

    We saw them perform at the D-Note last fall in Arvada. Fantastic musicians, hope they return.

  6. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    Just now hearing this…highly impressive.

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