I remember, quite vividly, the first time I heard Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. It sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. It shook the childhood simplicity out of my mind and exposed a world that was dark and curious. I couldn’t help but stare at the cover art of the cassette as the sounds contained inside exposed the potential that music possessed to move me emotionally and work my imagination into theater where anything was possible. It shook and questioned the core of beliefs that I had up until that point. But I was only a child at the time, and what did I really believe in at such a young age? I believed in music, more than I understood at that time, and the realization was only to come later in life.
Athens Ga’s Dead Confederate have their sophomore full-length Sugar out legal 8.24, and while the chances of it to have the impact on rock music that Black Sabbath’s Paranoid has had in this current musical climate, I do feel that it’s potential to move new listener’s in a way that has a lasting impact, exists.
From the opening track “In The Dark” it’s evident that while still sounding much like the band that recorded Wrecking Ball, there’s tone and texture about the recording that feels a progressive step in the band’s music. Utilizing the talents of producer John Agnello may have had some impact on this progression in sound. The heavy guitars still present with the fist pounding drums of Jason Scarboro in full force, but a playful tune dancing through the song by keyboardist John Watkins, while Hardy Morris’s vocals a bit more reserved in angst that we have come to know in the past. An acoustic beginning to track 2 “Run From The Gun” begins the trade off in songwriting blows delivered by Morris and bassist Brantley Sean who own songwriting credits divided almost evenly across the entire album.
Track 3 “Father Figure” begins a series of songs that go into lyrical depths that dance with inner demons, in a beautiful succession of some of the most intense, sonic, rage driven music on the record, balanced with the dreamlike track “By Design” possessed by Watkin’s eerie keyboard work and some unexpected cello work. Sanity in question reaches it’s pinnacle during “Quiet Kid” when Morris, channeling Sean sings in fuzzed out distorted vocals “Pissing away pathetic lives/Take them away today I might..I’ll f****** kill everyone in sight..I was the quiet kid.”
While we’ve become accustom to Morris’s vocals leading us through Dead Confederate’s war fields either by leading the charge or exposing it’s nasty details, Sean makes the vocal appearance on “Semi -Thought” shifting the tone a bit. The following track and first single “Giving It All Away” featuring J. Mascis on guitar shows that band is more than capable of writing material that will soon enough make them more accessible to a larger audience than they have managed to mass so far in their career. A “pop” song by no means though.
The album’s closing track “Shocked to Realize” serves almost as a closing explanation for this twisting tale of darkness and insanity. It seems to realize that there is that side to all of us that exists that we might not want to admit to possessing, but within realizing, you can come to terms with it’s existence and move forward with understanding the beauty that balances it all out in the grand scheme of things. Or maybe that’s just my own interpretation based on my own reality.Check your own reality.
Run from the Gun cuz Fairies Wear Boots..you gotta believe me.
The latest track made available by Dead Confederate from Sugar.
MP3> Dead Confederate ‘Run From The Gun’