Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats Mind Control, get into it

    I'm going to start a string of 'throwback doom', if you will with the album Mind Control from Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. As soon as I heard the band name, I had a pretty good idea of what they would sound like. Looking at the cover of the album only further confirmed my assumption. This band has the perfect name for the music they play. The easiest way I can describe the music is if someone tried to make black metal in the 70's. Mind Control is the band's 3rd album, released in 2013. The instruments, the musicians styles and the recording equipment are all purposefully vintage to recreate the sound of 70's heaviness. They would fit in perfectly opening for Black Sabbath as they toured for any of their first 6 albums.
    Mind Control opens with 'Mt. Abraxas, a meandering, guitar harmony (guitarmony?) laden trek to the summit. The vocals, all of which are harmonized, seem to speak to you from the great beyond. The sludge concludes with a nasty breakdown that'll make you wish you wrote it. Up next is Mind Crawler, an upbeat headbanger, with faint keys keeping the tempo. You can almost see the drummer shredding on vintage, piss colored cymbals. The bridge has you chanting the title of the song before the rock outro. Poison Apple is what I enjoy most about the throwback genre. Simple non-power chord riffs, with key changes during the verse, that take you into descending power chords. Coupled with the heavily vibratoed keys take you to the chorus of hammering power chords and into a triumphant solo. No Yngwie here, just exactly what the song calls for. Desert Ceremony begins with booming drums and a riff relying on the lower octave of a standard tuned guitar. The ascending riff, with all the guitarmonies you could need, leads into another tasteful solo. Then comes the rocking post solo riff, snare on the upbeat-style. Evil Love start with an almost Judas Priest sounding 3/4 riff. I've always maintained that its difficult to write a riff in 3/4 that doesn't sound metal. And a lot of times ruin you down stroking hand. The key changing melodic bridge excites me as a musician, it always reminds me of a Diamond Head song. Death Valley Blues is the first song on the album to begin with a more mellow sound before breaking in, metal slow jam-style. Your classic mellow verse/heavy chorus formula here. The drums have a bit of a shuffle to them, I can only assume, a nod to the great Bill Ward of Black Sabbath, who was always a swing style player. The mini solo comes in hard with vocals matching the guitars following, bringing the slow jam to a headbang climax. The middle-eastern sounding into to Follow the Leader secures this group's rightful place in an alternate version of the 70's that would make the world a better place. Tracks like this are always so well placed on albums. No discernible beat or structure, it gives you times to reflect on everything you've taken in so far. It's what Dawn Patrol is to Rust in Peace. It drones, it hypnotizes, it makes you wish it never ends. But the glorious feedback lets you know it is. Onto Valley of Dolls, which starts with with a single note riff dripping with doom. Band in, you get the full force of it. It's what you can do with single notes that a lot of groups miss and try to over complicate and over layer. The album's closer, Devil's Work, is a quarter note chug into oblivion. I believe in listening to albums, not songs. If it doesn't work as an album, then you have filler in there. Songs that shouldn't be there. Devil's work walks you up the steps to Valhalla.
    That breaks down Mind Control, beginning to end is the best way to do this one. As will be most of the albums I suggest. Strap on a Les Paul, run it through a fuzz pedal and be inspired.

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