Artist: Dead Mammals
Album: Dead Mammals
Release date: 26/02/2021
Country: United Kingdom
Written by James Sweetlove
Dead Mammals hail from Rochester, Medway, United Kingdom and formed at the start of 2020. The band are a two-piece made up of C. Garth on guitar, bass and drums and P. Basden on vocals. This follows their 2020 debut EP Mirrors, which we also reviewed (read the review here). The album also features vocals by C. Taylor on Desperate Like Me and additional vocals on High Horse by Alfie Basden. The album was completely written and recorded at home whilst bored during the Covid 19 lockdown.
The album’s overall style is very much a throwback to late 80s and early 90s alternative/noise bands and will be well received by any fans of bands such as Big Black, The Jesus Lizard or Dazzling Killmen. While less aggressive, dissonant and technical I also draw some comparisons to Dillinger Escape Plan but I think that comes down to the vocals more than anything with Basden reminding me at many times of Greg Puciato. There are also some downright heavy, downtuned and distorted segments that are essentially doom/sludge metal incorporated into the overall mix, particularly on track 10 Belly of the River. There’s that lo-fi sort of quality to the album as a whole and a sort of general malaise to the overall tone. Simultaneously though there’s a real experimental nature to the music presented here and it feels like we’re here for the birth of something great. I feel almost as if this album could end up being a modern noise rock classic.
The guitar work is at times somewhat simple but extremely repetitive, machine like and droning, giving the album a somewhat hypnotic sway to it. The real star among the string instruments has to be the bass though, it’s the true highlight of the album for me. The tone is thick and full, high in energy and equally as repetitive and droning. It sits at the forefront of the mix at many parts of the album giving it a rich and full tone on the whole and bringing a sort of punk energy to release. You can see clear influence drawn from aforementioned acts such as Big Black, Dazzling Killmen and The Jesus Lizard in regard to the playing style. The drum work on the album fits much into the same realm as the guitar, following repetitive rhythmic patterns that are somewhat hypnotic in nature. All of these elements have a somewhat lo-fi quality to them adding a bit of a dirty, gritty texture to the music.
Then we have to look at the vocals on the album which for me are another highlight. We have two styles at play, the first of which is an agitated punkish style which for the most part is screamed. This is the style that brought to mind Greg Puciato for me, but you can also hear influences from vocalists such as Nick Sakes and the legendary Steve Albini. The second style is a sort of half sung, half spoken style that is intended to have a sort of lazy and depressive feel to it and brings to mind David Yow with his more sullen moments. The final element that ties the whole album together are the experimental noise and harsh noise elements that are thrown into the mix, such as whining feedback and distortion, as well as some great crackles and screeches. Track 9 Two Killers in particular features plenty of these elements.
Overall, this is a truly solid debut album and one that I can really see being considered a classic someday. It bears all of the hallmarks of a great noise rock album and captures some of the best elements of past greats, while also brining plenty of its own unique elements, energy and charisma to the mix. So, don’t waste any more time sleeping on Dead Mammals and check the album out today.
Listen to and order the album below: