Band – Deadbird
Album – III: The Forest Within the Tree
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Doom
Release Date – October 12th, 2018
Label – 20 Buck Spin
Author – Johnny The Fox
Ethereal. Monolithic. A crushing wall of sound denser than the surface gravity of Earth. Each of these descriptors easily can be ascribed to the doom-metal genre generally, and certainly to Arkansas’ Deadbird specifically — and there’s nothing wrong with that.
On III: The Forest Within the Tree, the Little Rock-based sextet have taken all the traditional elements of classic stoner and doom metal, sprinkled in some sludge and noise elements, and twisted them into a well-integrated form. In the process, Deadbird have concocted a reasonably original sound for themselves. No one should ever accuse them of simply mimicking the likes of Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Down, or My Dying Bride. That said, fans of the aforementioned legends should find plenty of sweet solace in this Forest.
Now, Deadbird’s self-chosen genre is “heavy/blues/black/punk/metal,” which is appropriately ambiguous. But there’s very little that’s frenetic about this music. Rather, these songs predominantly are founded upon heavy and ponderous riffing, distorted basslines, an effective, if unremarkable, juxtaposition of clean and shouting vocals, and a sporadic spice of tasteful lead melodies/electronic effects. The album seems to float along a sonic jet stream that flows steadily throughout, rather than be strictly delineated by distinct songs. While this formula can feel a bit repetitive and monotonous at times, Forest does feature plenty of compelling moments.
Take, for instance, the main riff to first proper album track, “Luciferous Heart;” this simple-yet-memorable motif serves as the perfect foil to the hummable, evocative vocal melody. On “Heyday,” Deadbird smoothly shift from jagged brutality to a hauntingly-brooding arpeggiated interlude. Likewise, “Brought Low” and “Bone & Ash” demonstrate more intricate rhythmic interplay, and, in the case of the latter, even a bit of briskness
While not perfect, this record represents yet another enjoyable entry into the pantheon of new American doom.
Highlights – “Luciferous Heart,” “Heyday,” “Bone & Ash,” “Brought Low.”
Rating – 4/5