Hailing from my hometown of Columbus, Ohio is the enigmatic and talented threesome known as Deadsea.Â Difficult to pigeon-hole in a singleÂ genre, I settled on the word ‘Progressive’ although I could’ve just as easily gone with ‘Avantgarde’ or ‘Experimental’.Â The self-titled disc has elements of Doom, Death, Thrash, Classical, Punk and even Jazz mixed into it’s multifarious tracklisting with songs ranging from ‘Assault’, which clocks in under two minutes, to the symphonic ‘Frozen Rivers’ which is well over 16!Â
The band was founded by veteran musician/composer Adam Smith, who handles vocals & guitar whileÂ accompanied onÂ bass by longtime associate J. Alex Conley and percussionist Jeremy Spears.Â Their songsÂ fuse together the band membersÂ varied influences and interests into cerebral mutations of impressive musicianship and emotional capriciousness,Â reminiscent ofÂ legendary forerunners Opeth,Â aÂ sludgier Anathema or perhaps a more cleanly vocaled variant of Chuck Schuldiner’s pioneeringÂ Death.Â Â
Upon reviewing the disc, my first thoughts concerned the difficultyÂ in anticipating how theÂ melodiesÂ would unfold.Â Â Â The time changes are many and each song seems to consist of multiple hooks and/or movements such thatÂ a lesser band would’ve tried to churn them into individual (and more tedious) pieces.Â Interestingly, Deadsea chooses to ignore status quo and produce more erratic yet technically sophisticated entries that weave an aural web that is both intriguing and complicated.Â Â Smitty’s guitar work is admirable, at times crunchy and fast, other times more careful and emotive.Â Vocally, he tends to follow the more difficult path of actually SINGING and proving his range rather than relying on throaty growls and indiscernable gibbering -Â not that there isn’t a little bit of that as well.Â Lyrically he sings ofÂ common themes – mysticism, vengeance and death, but chooses his phrasing effectively and avoids unnecessaryÂ wordiness.Â His colleagues in crime Conley & Spears playÂ tightly and like Smith avoid repetition and cliche by challenging themselves with parts made intentionallyÂ more ambitious.
My favorite pieces are the aforementioned opus ‘Frozen Rivers’, which despite it’s length offers a wide range of rhythmic variation and textured instrumentation, as well as theÂ thrashy ‘Coming Home’, the powerful ‘Killing Faith (CryingÂ Death)Â and the haunting instrumental ‘The Morning Frost’.
For a ‘local’ act, this is first rate material presented professionally and as adeptly as anything out there.Â After repeat plays, I still find something new to standout with each listen andÂ myself more and more impressed by the effort.