Dead Register
Captive

I love Atlanta, Georgia’s doom n’ gloom masters Dead Register quite a metric ton.  Not only is the music powerful but if you just read the trio’s bandcamp bio you know that they’ve got a wicked, snarly smile going on behind all of their malice in the chalice bass riffs, heart-reaping vocals and molten percussive dips.  Captive is their third release, a 5 song EP that pulls the veil on some of their heaviest lurchers to date and even showcases some quicker cuts that barely linger past the 3 minute mark.

The mechanical machinations of the title-track bring a lockstep, imploding set of bass tones that bare resemblance to a sonic sliming of Godflesh writing in the key of Bauhaus.  It’s a vast expanse of regular bass, synthetic bass and the bass VI creeping like fog across a city left ruined by glacial drum bombs and mournful vocals that have plenty of presence and power behind ‘em.  You can feel this music slowly making rotations that mimic the Earth’s axis.  Singer/dual bassman Chvasta whips up some of his best singing to date with those quicksand sunk lows rising into some howls that go a few more ratchets up his register than usual.  Lots of bubbling tom/kick deviance on the drumfront gives the song a forward hypnotic progression that might be slow and decaying but is always driving forth towards a summit and never hanging out completely in the valley.  Avril Che’s baroque texture applications through keys and synthetic manipulations provide a lot of thick gristle to the music though she’s rising up just when needed into a scalding, minor-side of moon melody.  It’s almost as if the band put the album’s centerpiece at the front of the EP and decided to really kick some shifty sand in your eyes later down the line.

That first oddball kick in the snoot comes with “Ender’s” creation of a damn near groovy riff gargantuan.  This could be their punk rock tune.  It shakes up some dust-storm tempos and hooks your head in a noose of melodic majesty akin to Hum, Shiner, Menthol and other 90s greats.  Gorgeous keyboard hymnals weld themselves to steel constructed towers of big, bendy riffage sportin’ a spliff in the side of its mouth for decoration.  It needs be noted that Dan Dixon did an absolutely fabulous job on the recording here (he’s worked on records by Whores and Allen Epley’s post Shiner magic wielders The Life and Times).  I’m diggin’ hearing Dead Register work in a succinct, semi-uptempo format such as this.  They really pull it off without losing any of their deliciously bleak textures.  “Heresy” is a bit longer but full of glistening guitar sounding fugues, a loping bass line, touching back-up vocals by Che and Danny Ryann’s thunderclap drum patterns.  There’s a bone-crunching slowdown later in the track with some of Chvasta’s most harrowing vocal melodies on the record found in their natural habitat.  The whole thing is a mix of classic 80s deathrock standards, 90s space heavies, good n’ crunching English thunder and some of the reflective melodies of Katatonia or Vantage-era Fall of the Leafe.  A cover of the Dead and Gone classic “Blood from a Ghost” transplants the scrappy anger of the original for a darker, dread induced vibe that’s certainly a few more shades bottom heavy than the higher-end original.  The anger’s still there but cooked in a frying pan of brooding, rumbly weight that’s a product of that unique Dead Register multi-bass sound.  Closer “Monochrome” is also a surprise ‘cause it has some nasty Am-Rep screech-pain mixed with Godflesh tonalities as covered by The Cure.  There is also some sweeping Norwegian ballast happening and rhythmic rushes that also fly out of left field like a silver bullet on a holy mission.  Black metal is talkin’ turkey at the table for certain.  It’s a great track and one of the most diverse pieces in the band’s roster thus far.

Captive continues to set a very high bar for Dead Register.  Anyone into these types of sounds should grab this one and its full-length predecessor Fiber, IMMEDIATELY.  You get great songwriting, killer instrumental layering/arrangements, deeply moving vocals and some nightblack heaviness with a pop aesthetic that actually works towards the music’s advantage and never takes away from it.  This is a one a kind EP by a one of a kind band…give it a dedicated ear.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
February 22nd, 2019

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