When the Deadbolt Breaks
Until it All Collides

Guitarist/vocalist/mastermind Aaron Lewis has culled Connecticut doom cult When the Deadbolt Breaks into his own singular backwoods, backwater doom vision for over a decade now (he’s also been in Cable and Thunderhoof and currently has the smokin’ Buzzard Canyon goin’ full swing). I’ve had the pleasure of opening for Deadbolt twice, including a devastating show where they were trimmed down from a quartet to a duo. Aaron’s a lifelong friend and I still revere his underground, Van Gogh sludge monstrosities Drifting Toward the Edge of the Earth and The Last Day of Sun as forgotten classics that more sleaze doom nuts still need to hear. Friend or not, honesty is key in my reviews and I’ve sullied relationships with KEN Mode, Minoton, Danava and several others for saying what I feel. I don’t regret anything and hey, I’ll still be your friend even if I think your latest music stinks.

Thankfully, after a few years spent sharpening their skin-paring tools, Deadbolt returns with a three-track disc of sonic rape that might look like an EP but features enough artillery for the full-length tag. Built around a 20+ minute, brand new meat hook magic jam “Until it all collides,” long-starved fans of these doom-dealin’ outlanders have plenty to sink their teeth into. One of Aaron and Deadbolt’s best qualities has always been their ability to run a vast gamut of festering, maggot handfuls of sound; from midnight moon doom/sludge howls to moonshine slingin’ stoner/psyche to grind to bitch black ambience to gothic Americana rooted in 80s death rock…limits and boundaries were never in the band’s vocabulary and they still aren’t to this day. The centerpiece jam begins with star glimmer clean guitars, void channeled bass lines, well-timed funeral beats and Aaron’s rich, baritone croons.

Like all good Deadbolt monoliths, layering becomes an important part with pained, blackened screams and thick throat shred morphing into a cretin callin’ sludge riff implanted with a searing, slow-burnt psyche lead. There’s a similar Thorazine drip on hand between instant release riffage and IV’ed psychedelia that Rwake and Deadbird fans ought to be able to latch onto and get the feel here. 7:45 brings a killer southern creeper vine riff that strangled out my brains with its tangled roots. Sturdy melodic vocals fight for air against each intoxicating absinthe groove with the sharp, rhythmic stops/starts making for a catchy turbulent ride. Aaron’s downhome acoustic riff slowly rises over a tide of undulating, bluesy drum fills and anchoring bass licks that keep the material engaging and never flailing away at a boring drone. This Mason jar curated jam eventually becomes afflicted with apparitional leads and autumnal female vocal chants (perhaps by Aaron’s wife, a known offender in the Deadbolt army). A climax of phantasmal sludge cements this tune as probably my favorite in Deadbolt’s pantheon to date…they really build this one into a behemoth of unheralded proportions.

The title track itself is well-worth the price of admission on this one but soundboard live recordings of the sticky, psychedelic hate-sludge masterpiece “Sleeps in Burning Hills (from Drifting Toward…)” and the melancholically doom-choked gothic sludge psyche of “Just before Twilight (from Last Day of Sun)” yield plenty of extra reasons to pick this release up in its entirety. These live versions add more rawness and even some slightly different harrowing twists to a pair of tunes that snuff out hopes and dreams like God’s boots squash millions of human insects on a daily basis

It’s truly a pleasure to hear Aaron and Deadbolt back with a new release which features their most ambitious tune to date. “Until it all collides” delivers in every area and aspect of songwriting depth, impactful musical transitions and battering ram heartbreak/heaviness that I’d hope to hear from this point in the band’s lengthy career. The vicious live recordings only add more value to a release that’s main strengths lies in one vast, serpentine jam.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
January 11th, 2017

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