Identity Shapes EP

Black Bow Records strike again with another coffin slab of night black madness, this time with London’s sludge-coated, blackened d-beaters Deadwound. Identity Shapes is the band’s debut; five cuts of internal organ rearranging madness with unorthodox structures, melodies and madness. The clearly picked lead licks have a weird Duane Denison tonality (Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk, etc.) but the overall psychosis found within Deadwound’s padded walls is like a unholy candlelight orgy between Trap Them, Entombed, Eyehategod, Cursed, Discharge, Hard to Swallow, Pain of Mind to Through Silver and Blood era Neurosis, Fall of the Bastards, Kilara, Cruevo, From Ashes Rise, Dystopia, Wellington and the nastiest of the Am-Rep roster. This makes a nice chaser with the two Rats of Reality EPs that I’ve covered recently.

Crucifixed” wowed me instantly and made me a monstrous fan of the band’s Neanderthal brutality laced with exotic intricacies. Dissonant melodic cadences jangle with angular melody lines as the twin guitars of Phil Mann and Maxwell Thomas emanate from deep within a dank DIY basement venue. These apocalyptic, twang-y underpinning makes the band rattle with an unusual patterns as time signatures go kooky into rotten, termite-infested sludge crawls, a grating noise-rock fester and breakneck crust surges led by Gregory Allum’s d-beat snare. Luke Kempton’s vocal duality is pitch perfect for what the band is doing; an amalgamation of meathook hung, blackened screams and a throaty, dirt chewin’ roar. Squalid feedback, earth buried bass lines, abyssal doom blowouts and frenetic white noise soloing only cements the band permanently into the hallowed halls of my metal memory. Maybe it’s the gruff swampy vocals but the crashing clean noise guitars and sewer-y blues-kissed sludge of “Kult Warrior” reminds me of Kilara’s The Funeral Fix. Gaping stops n’ starts leak sustained notes and ugly psychedelia with any traces of light virtually strangled until the midsection introduces a battering ram crust charge lathe cut by increasingly harrowing noise-guitar that eventually dims into a labyrinth-like solo that winds and winds around until the swaying Am-Rep blues returns. Not only does this material feel original…the songwriting excels in making sure each piece interlocks with the part that came before it.

Warped, intertwining chords give way to bellowing vocals and slimy hardcore sludge on the more straightforward bludgeon of “Witch.” Noxious screeching vocals sound like the voice of a man’s balls in a vice-grip (shades of Mike n’ Eyehategod for certain). Oddball textures still prevail in the form of phantasmic guitar static that evaporates psychedelically atop Bay Area styled crusty sludge-blues riffs. “Cruel Road” assigns on guitarist to painting scrambling, atonal black metal signal decay while the second guitarist and bassist Gavin Thomas hold down the sludge format. Choppy blasts and d-beats send the riffage into murderous crust that’s an absolute classic example of the form. As fuckin’ pissed as the vocals are they are unusually decipherable and had me shouting along with zero hesitation. Closer “Babylon” enters on the haunches of a vintage punk rock snare roll and deep dipping bass line as aerated open notes wring melodies out of the filth punk 6-string hysterics. Soon those hysterics turn to an executioner’s axe of sludge abuse intermingled with a bluesy noise-rock lick. Some of the album’s filthiest doom-laden dementia is in the second half of this track which makes it all the more of a shocker when a super melodic lead draws things to a close.

It may be early in the year but thanks to Teeth of the Divine, Deadwound is going to be one of my top discoveries of 2017. This is a fucking awesome piece of work and takes me back to my old crust/sludge/grind days at ratty little venues where every band you heard was a major revelation. There’s not a bum track on Identity Shapes and these guys have a sound that is fiercely of their own design.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
March 24th, 2017


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