Dead Neon
Dead Neon

Like a toy that’s temporarily lost its fun factor — maybe a torched doll with plastic skin bunched at the bottom of its fire-mutated face, laying underneath the bed waiting for a facelift — this Dead Neon review got tossed to the wayside until I could come up with the right words to bring it to life. Now it’s come time to pull on the gloves and begin the haphazard surgery, piecing flesh and tissue together.

Dead Neon, released on cassette by Ecophagy Records, aurally paints a scorched landscape, where the earth’s remaining inhabitants roam in search of refuge from the dried-out husks of walking corpses and the sun’s unrelenting rays. The concept lies somewhere between Mad Max and The Omega Man (or The Last Man on Earth, depending on your preference), with a twist of zombies and classic sci-fi thrown in for good measure. The music behind the concept comes in the form of menacing doom (“primitive nuclear doom”) overlaid by gravelly, narration-like vocals. And though Dead Neon have got the workings of an excellent idea within this album, the pieces don’t quite fit together.

“Advisory (Go to the Boneyard)” gives listeners backstory about Dead Neon‘s world in the fashion of a survivor directing others through a megaphone, giving a feel for the environment about to be entered. “Downwinder” then sets the album’s pace for a downtuned, distorted sort of primitive chaos. It’s not expertly executed, but then, it’s not really supposed to be, and it fits. “Cratered” follows along the same path, plodding, with a simplistic drum beat/pattern. This one relies heavily on vocals, the novelty of which eventually wears off, and they become semi-annoying. They work a little more effectively in “Irradiated Heart,” which gives off more of a sci-fi vibe, though it feels immature musically. This is the impression that many of Dead Neon’s tracks give, to be honest, which is to be expected somewhat with this type of doom, but they also smell of inexperience. And don’t get me started on “Ride the Light,” which was undoubtedly meant to be a joke version of a ballad (though that fact doesn’t make the tune any less cringe-worthy). To be fair, “Cancer Eater” and “100 Suns” are right where Dead Neon should be musically, dirty and heavy and radiating an evil vibe.

Maybe the supreme primitivity of the album is lost on this reviewer, lover of riffs and excess. But more likely is the theory that Dead Neon is a work in process, and like many first albums, Dead Neon is not without its flaws, some more unforgivable than others. There are numerous good ideas thrown around within the album, and perhaps Dead Neon’s next effort will be a more cohesive, mature beast, one that will come back to bite me in the ass. That’s what I hope, at least.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jodi Van Walleghem
December 10th, 2010

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