November 16, 2013

Filthy Music Review - 'When the Deadbolt Breaks: Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth'

When the Deadbolt Breaks – Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth (2013)

EarOne Productions

Review by Jude Felton

In the December 2013 issue of Decibel magazine, Inquisition main man Dagon makes a comment about listeners only needing 30 seconds to decide whether or not they like something. It’s a statement which I believe to be very true, and a little sad, because more often than not I find that I really need to digest an album in order to fully appreciate it. Yes, I might think I like it on an initial listen, but there are other factors to be taken into account.

For a start, if the first time I hear a song is on the beloved YouTube, I know that it will sound far different on vinyl, cassette, CD or Digital, as the sound quality on YouTube is sorely lacking. Bandcamp and Soundcloud are far better, in terms of sound, but you also need to take into account where you are listening to this new music.

This, in a roundabout way, leads me on to When the Deadbolt Breaks’ new slab of epic doom. This is a band who demands your full attention, and preferably a good sound system, in order to take in Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth. For a start it is a two disc album with a running time of just shy of 2 hours, so it’s longer than the average movie, and there’s a lot going on during this running time.

The first time I put the album on was late at night, everyone else was in bed, with my headphones on; it was a mesmerizing experience. The second time was in the car, via IPod, and some real crankage on the volume. Both of these allowed me to take in the album in different ways, each one revealing more to me, and subsequent listens have only further improved my listening pleasure.

Quite simply, When the Deadbolt Breaks has delivered one of the albums of the year. Stunning lead guitar-work, a bottom end from below Hell, and a real mixture on the vocals; there’s clean singing, unholy growls and even an ethereal siren of a young lady in places.

Given the album’s mammoth running time, it has allowed the band to let the sounds flow organically, so even though they bring a myriad of sounds to the table, it all comes together seamlessly. The album itself is on two discs, with disc 2 being taken up by the epic My Coffin is Loaded with Sand and Fire I-V, with disc one being broken down into 8 songs of varying length. I will tell you now though; the shortest is just over 5 minutes long. Like I said, When the Deadbolt Breaks demands your attention; this is not disposable music to lay down as background music. Sure, you can slap it on in the background, but only once you have given it your full attention for a few spins.

To call Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth simply a doom album would be to short sell it. Sure, for terms of ease and lazy categorization, it is a doom album, but there is just so much more to it; drone, sludge, metal, classic rock and more. This is a thing of beauty, and even after committing as much time to it as I already have, I still feel there is more to discover.

Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth is, without a doubt, one of my favorite albums of 2013 and will feature in the obligatory year-end list. How high on this list remains to be seen, but I have a feeling it will be right up there. It could be easy to see an album of this length as pure self-indulgence, on the band’s behalf, although I can assure you that it is anything but that. This is simply a magnificent musical journey. Outstanding.

Track Listing:

Disc 1
1. The Woods Are Full of Killers
2. The Scavengers Daughter
3. Sleeps in Burning Hills
4. Too Much Perfection Is a Mistake  
5. California Comes the Rain
6. Hide the Bodies from God
7. GunSwallower
8. We Are the Wolves

Disc 2
9. My Coffin Is Loaded with Sand and Fire I
10. My Coffin Is Loaded with Sand and Fire II
11. My Coffin Is Loaded with Sand and Fire III
12. My Coffin Is Loaded with Sand and Fire IV
13. My Coffin Is Loaded with Sand and Fire V

Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth is available now from EarOne Productions.

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