CD Review of Attack by Dead Child
Recommended if you like
Iron Maiden, Down and Trouble
Label
Quarterstick
Dead Child: Attack

Reviewed by R. David Smola

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W
ith a horrible name and song titles like “Screaming Skull,” “Never Bet the Devil Your Head,” and “Battlesnake Chalice,” it seemed as if this was going to be a Spinal Tap level satire or a really bad idea. The album art is reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s Born Again – one of the worst album covers in history – or the movie poster for the cult horror film “It’s Alive.” What a pleasant surprise it was to hear a good, sincere (even if the lyrics are a bit dated) well executed heavy metal record. The influences of Judas Priest, Sabbath, Rush and Trouble are distributed throughout the 45-minute attack on your ear drums.

Dead Child has some interesting roots. The eclectic, multi-instrumentalist and talented David Pajo (or David Christian Pajo as he is credited) plays guitar. He has worked with Slint, Tortoise and Zwan, the one-off Billy Corigan project. Pajo’s Slint bandmate and ex-Squirrel Bate guitarist Michael McMahan, Crain’s drummer Tony Bailey, bassist Todd Cook and non-Cookie Monster vocalist Dahm comprise the rest of Dead Child. The band is a nasty unit feeding off each other and consistently finds the right (dark, or darker?) tone for each track.

Dahm, as BE editor David Medsker points out, has a bit of Queensryche’s Geoff Tate in his voice. There is also a good percentage of Geddy Lee in his delivery. Needless to say, the fact that he is singing this stuff sets Dead Child apart from the countless Cookie Monster bands out there. Like listening to Rush, at some point the vocals can wear you out, but this 45 minutes spreads out plenty of chunky musicianship to sink your teeth into.

The band is very comfortable in moving from Sabbath-like riffing to Iron Maiden rolling song structure. “Eye to the Brain” begins with a Maiden-like vibe before slowing down to a Sabbath crawl and effortlessly floats through the two styles as the song rolls on. “Armies Up Ahead” is a quiet, two-minute guitar interlude, creating a false sense of relief until the pounding drum-and-devil-chord beginning of “The Coldest Hands,” one of two songs of more than seven minutes. “Hands” is another Trouble/Sabbath-sounding track in that nothing is rushed, the music is setting the table for a wicked, sludgy journey while the cadence of Dahm’s vocals are delivered with doom.

There isn’t a great song on the disc, but the material is good. There is definitely potential in this band to make a great record. The question remains whether Pajo’s wandering spirit will allow him to explore this genre for more than a record or two before his muse calls him away for something completely different.

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