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Dead Empires Bring the Noise on “The Form”

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On their upcoming album Designed to Disappear, Dead Empires left their instrumental-centric days behind them by adding vocalist/noise-generator Jason Sherman. Sherman’s vocals may change the band’s classification, but his work with distortion pedals and fuzz filters changes Dead Empires’ character.

Last year was a coronation for the “noise dude” in the metal mainstream. Both Code Orange and Full of Hell released acclaimed albums which made no bones about the influence of harsh noise on their sound. Code Orange even devoted an entire music video to announcing their live “noise guy” as an official member of the band. Having someone on stage futzing over a table of wires and pedals is no longer a novelty. That means as noise influence becomes more prominent in metal, fans will quickly learn to pick up who’s incorporating those elements well, and who’s faking the funk.

Dead Empires have nothing to worry about in that regard. On “The Form,” which is streaming exclusively below, the band treat noise not as set dressing or background filigree, but as its own instrument.

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“The Form” spends its first half on misdirection. Using a series of rhythmic shifts and screeching guitar patterns, the band effectively make it impossible to predict exactly how or when the song will snap into place. In this early section, Sherman’s roars serve as the only anchor, while his work at the boards aids the senses of discontent and unease.

All of this serves to make the sudden shift into mountainous half-time even more powerful. The song’s second half is a jock jam for the art-rock set: the kind of riff that makes you want to shotgun a craft beer. This is where Sherman’s addition starts to pay dividends. Just when the song seems likely to kick into a foot-on-the-monitor guitar solo, Sherman’s knob manipulation takes center stage instead, where he trades licks with the guitars behind him. It’s a stadium-worthy moment for a sound more commonly heard in basements. The same dichotomy presents itself in how the song moves from a sound indebted to skronky Northeast hardcore to a climax that shares melodic DNA with an Ariana Grande hit.

Dead Empire are ready for the big time, and they’re going to bring the noise with them.

Designed to Disappear releases February 22nd via Silent Pendulum. You can follow Dead Empires on Facebook here.

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