Why have I not heard of Deadsea until now? Why is this band not on the cover of every metal magazine? Why aren’t hipsters hyping this to high heaven? Instead, they’re still buying Mastodon records. Nothing against that band, but Intronaut is better. Now come Deadsea, elbowing those bands the fuck out of the way. Most other bands should just give up now. I’m serious. I would gladly trade away entire metal subgenres for Deadsea.
Like Mastodon and Intronaut, Deadsea are spindly and sprawling. They’re just so much better at it. Deadsea sound like dirtbags who discovered jazz fusion and got really good at it. There is some serious music theory going on here. But the vibe is still raw and natural – none of the slick over-production that typically plagues “prog.” Not only do Deadsea play circles around their peers, they also kick more ass. Mastodon and Intronaut write interesting songs, but I often wish both would sprinkle ass-kicking in with the interesting.
Deadsea do not suffer from this problem. In between the music theory are full-on classic, thrash, and death metal. Even better, they have occasional clean singing – not the cheesy kind, but the appropriate, adding-to-ass-kicking kind. This offers a big advantage over Mastodon, who are taking baby steps with singing, and Intronaut, who are still at the “yelling only” stage.
Again, no knock against those bands, both of whom are creative and innovative. It’s just that Deadsea have taken what they do to a much higher level. “Frozen Rivers” is an immense, 16-minute odyssey that’s practically an album by itself. Eight and a half minutes long, “The Morning Frost” is another epic journey. Even the joke song hidden in the last track – I enjoy it more than the entirety of Blood Mountain.
If you combined Slayer and Mastodon, you’d get a mighty beast called “Coming Home.” It’s one of the best metal songs I’ve heard in years. If you don’t headbang or throw a goat or invisible orange to this jam, you are not worthy. And, even better, it actually says something: “The promise of life unravels from my spine / Running and sinking forever through sands of time / I’ve tried so hard just to live my life / But the sun is setting on the time that’s passed me by.” What was the last Mastodon lyric you remembered? I thought so.
These guys are schooling Mastodon and Intronaut in musicianship, songwriting, lyrics – everything. If I had heard this record when it came out, it would have easily made my top 5 last year. Many believe that the Dead Sea has powerful healing effects. Those in need of metal health would do well to lie in this one.
Deadsea is available from the band’s MySpace.