DEAD REGISTER is one of the bands we automatically get excited over when news of a fresh encounter is upon us, their previous releases shaping our instinctive appetite for their brooding sound, indeed a certain moment of their last encounter finding relevance in personal experience. So inevitably a spark of excitement welcomed an email from band vocalist/bassist M. Chvasta introducing their new album, Alive.
Those past triumphs also naturally bring greater anticipation and expectations from us with intrigue as to how the band follows such acclaimed outings such as 2016’s debut album Fiber and especially two years later the Captive EP. It barely took a minute before the answer was firm in our ears; Alive is another gripping and emotionally involving experience with Atlanta hailing DEAD REGISTER, a release building on the irrepressible success and drama of Captive to set out its own agenda of manipulative imagination and temptation.
As ever, the trio of Chvasta, Avril Che (bass synthesis, 88 keys, textures, vocals) and Randy Garcia (drums) weave their richly individual sound through the embracing of doom, post punk, goth and dark ambience. It is a proposition which sits astride genres yet truly belongs to none but DEAD REGISTER’S own realm of anxiety and shadows which this time around seems to have parted the curtains just an inch to let in a twist of light, certainly a keener trespass of catchiness without defusing the inherent tenebrific and emotive prowl of their sonic prowess.
The release opens with its title track, Alive immediately springing a surge of keys bred tension before erupting into a viscous crawl of sound, the varied snarls of bass and similarly crepuscular raw shimmer of synths aural and mental provocation. Relaxing into its tense but controlled stroll, the ever alluring tones of Chvasta weave their own intimation and tempting, again as manipulative on the senses and one’s participation as ever. The track was sunder the skin in seconds and orchestrating body and appetite as swiftly, the roving rhythms of Garcia a conductor to further addiction.
Let Me In follows, casting a mobile of sonic crystalline before unveiling its broody breath and evocative tapestry of contemplation with equally expressive endeavour. Twists and turns line its infectious enterprise and tension; each drawn from an angst and sadness burned heart, bound in the haunting keys of Che and the instinctive gloom laden drawl of the band’s sound.
Next up Circle Of Lies breaks into a new landscape of adventure as it moves from its opening toxic growl through veils of melodic intimation to a realm of poetic suggestion and haunted beauty. There is a touch of The Mission to the song in the almost cosmopolitan breath it shares yet again a place where shadows and dark intrigue embroil in warm splendour as the trio spin another web of emotional apprehension and creative uniqueness.
Similarly, In Between grips with its rapacious individuality, a rich eighties post punk scent sweeping its entrance and subsequent grunge/goth rock outpouring; a tempestuous merging of the elegant and raw just as wholesome within the irritably catchy Jaded Love. It strides through ears with authority, demanding attention and once in control seduces with a mosaic of calm and dispute within an earnest kaleidoscope of sound and emotion which lit up the senses.
Two Silhouettes made a more unassuming entrance with its melancholy woven strands yet it too gripped with its sonic spirals and emotive consternations as Garcia’s predacious but respectfully swung beats pounced while Longest Day is almost savage in its initial engagement though from that corruption a breath of radiant calm soon swept the senses. With it though, new waves of agitation and irritancy erupt even as the united tones of Chvasta and Che balance the turmoil with their resigned harmonies.
The album ends with Old Flame, a final wander through the caliginous domain of Alive bringing new rewards of emotional apprehension and melancholic beauty crafted with invention and intimate passion. DEAD REGISTER explore the darkest avenues and corners of life, love and longing; drawing out the seduction and beauty they may bear as sublimely epitomised in the album’s final song.
If you had asked us a few weeks back if DEAD REGISTER could surpass their darkly majestic Captive EP, with a touch of trepidation a shrug of the shoulders might have been the reply but we can announce that Alive has eclipsed its magnificence and offered up another irresistible album of the year moment.
Pete RingMaster 16/06/2022
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