"The Head and the Heart"


01. Sadness Distilled
02. Rorschach Sky
03. Mount Zero (is Burning)
04. 1332
05. Illuminate the Decay
06. Eclipse of the Rye
07. See you in the Hot Country
08. The Head and the Heart

RATING: 7.5/10

If Little Rock, Arkansas' RWAKE are the deliverers of progressive sludge psychosis, then Fayetteville's DEADBIRD are the distillation of it into a crawling, bloody mess of crippling depression and pervasive anxiety. What the hell is going on down there in the land of Clinton anyway? There is in fact a more personal connection between both bands — DEADBIRD's Charles Schaaff (guitar/vocals) is a former member of RWAKE. Recorded in late 2003, "The Head and the Heart" gets a European release on Codebreaker Records this summer and lands on U.S. shores via Earache on October 4. God help the unprepared and the bipolar.

The style heard on the disc is a kind of southern doom, baked in a sludgy sauce with pure grain alcohol as a primary ingredient, and topped with a thick Valium crust. Much like DEADBIRD's partners in the art of mind expansion (or collapse, depending on your point of view), catchall terms like "doom" or "sludge" used in isolation are too simplistic to capture the music's essence. "Doom" does provide an indication of the atmosphere created, but it doesn't stop there. Slow tempo pieces with over-amplified guitars and bass buzz are interrupted by melancholic acoustic interludes. Up-tempo sections ultimately get crushed down into a churning slow burn. The plague may take the form of an acoustic instrumental shadowed by a feeling of slight unease ("1332") or a maze of twists and turns, from gloomy melody to an anger-filled desperation landslide ("Mount Zero [is Burning]"). Sorrowful melodic leads that hover just above rhythmic lava flows are found throughout. The most aggressive vocals are reminiscent of the guttural drawl of BEATEN BACK TO PURE's Ben "Boss" Hogg, just not delivered in front-of-the-mix fashion nor with quite the same level of in-your-face attitude.

"The Head and the Heart" is not for everyone. If it were it wouldn't fill that special void craved by those falling somewhere between moderately disaffected and severely warped. The heavily medicated among you should approach with extreme caution. May be fatal if swallowed.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).