It is two years since Atlanta outfit Dead Register not only thrilled but truly captivated us with debut album Fiber. It was a collection of tracks bred in the rich essences of doom, gothic, and post rock but equally embraced many more flavours to create something as unique as you could imagine or wish. Twenty four or so months on we still cannot truly define their sound or want to as that would be to sterilise its originality and fertility, both as rampant and captivating in the band’s new offering, Captive.
Every word in praise of Fiber by us and so many others can be echoed with zeal in regard to the Captive EP, but not only repeated but escalated as its five tracks venture to mouth-watering new heights in the imaginative craft and inventive prowess of Dead Register. The new EP sees percussionist/drummer Danny Ryann (ex-Gigan) alongside vocalist/bassist M. Chvasta and his wife, Avril Che on bass synth, keys, and backing vocals; Dan Dixon (Whores, The Life and Times, PLS PLS, Biters) recording, mixing, and mastering their now proposition.
Captive opens up with its title track, a dark mist springing the lumbering gait of the song but a funereal step soon wrapped in romancing melodies as a shadow bred atmosphere descends. Magnetic rhythms are swiftly courted by the ever potent and alluring tones of Chvasta, both in turn hugged by the heavy emotive doom gaze breath of the track. Haunting and mesmeric, the song continues to seduce and impose, drama soaking very brooding note and harmonic utterance trespassing and seducing the senses.
It is a highly tantalising and increasingly captivating beginning to the release and one as powerfully continued by next up Ender. A song exploring love and loss and “a reminder to savor even the most mundane idiosyncrasies that “make” our loved ones who they are”, a premise easy to relate to, it rousingly smoulders in ears and thoughts but a thick simmer with volatility which only enriches its emotional incitement and a sound with Type O Negative/Nine Inch Nails hues. There is also a breath to the track and its successors which reminds of eighties band, The Sound; an instinctively downbeat almost depressive yet rousing dark essence which is especially apparent in the fiercely infectious Heresy. From its predacious nagging bassline to the sonic tendrils and Chvasta’s transfixing vocals, the track is pure temptation as virulently catchy as it is melancholically consuming.
A riveting cover of the Dead and Gone track Blood from a Ghost follows, Dead Register infusing it with a voraciously dark elegance without defusing its raw heart and anguish. Few covers in our experience improve on the original but the threesome certainly flirts with that success before Monochrome completes the aural mastery of Captive with its own tenebrific majesty soaked in emotive dissonance. A breath-taking and arousing yet corrosive romance, the track is a maelstrom of destruction and tenderness and quite irresistible.
It is a spellbinding prowess which devours the whole of Captives and feeds the infatuation we have already found for the band. If in our words Fiber was “dark magic, emotional trespassing, and quite wonderful”, Captive is pure aural alchemy and one of the year’s essential encounters.
Captive is released November 2nd; available @ https://deadregister.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 02/11/2018
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