Deserters

The Slow Rhythms Of A Dead-Beat by Deserters (Mediaskare Records)

Last year, Deserters unleashed a glorious slab of raging, ugly hardcore entitled Fail Yourself that gained the collective a good deal of attention. One of the most memorable and vastly underrated EP’s from 2011, it is encouraging to report that this Los Angeles band has outdone themselves with their full length Mediaskare debut. The Slow Rhythms Of A Dead-Beat features 12 tracks of pure sonic devastation. Imagine the Deftones and Shai Hulud getting together and conceiving a bastard child, and you’re destined to hear the dark and anguished tones emitting from the Deserters crew. Although Deserters may be from the so-called City Of Angels, their fiery music is anything but heavenly.

First up are the searing thrashing sounds of Optimism’s Victim, instantly assaulting the listener with its austere refrains. “Why do I do this to myself? Leech off the dreams of someone else?” the lyrics spew out as Stoke The Fire scorches through your psyche with a stark sense of urgency and unease. Trash then commences – an anthem seething with bitter recriminations of betrayal and mistrust.

The Plunge lurches into the tortured depths of isolation and despair, where the mighty clarion call of “fuck the world” and “I’ll throw myself from the highest mountain” will ring through your ears. The Afterglow kicks off a whole series of songs dealing with faith and disbelief, with sentiments such as “I’ve been waiting for so long to see your face, so perfect, so nothing,” blasted out with a dire sense of dread and conviction. Referring to “the faceless king,” the passion found within the vocal delivery is nothing short of mesmerizing. The instrumental One Is Too Many is a calming reprieve, with a haunting acoustic guitar weaving its black magic throughout, attempting to heal the wounds of the angst presented during the first half of the album.

Sometimes I dream that I am God. I stop the human race before it starts,” screams vocalist Matthew Roell in a staggering sense of performance art as he “prays for sleep to a God that doesn’t give a fuck.” Entitled D.R.E.A.M.O.N., the track is short but leaves a lingering impression. A Day As The Moon features bleak clean vocals, presenting a desolate yet intensive soundscape – “Did you take a piece of me, I feel so fucking empty, Cold as ice, but I’m not melting” are the somber lyrics as a spiritual entity is confronted and discarded within the darkness of the mind. God Is Green then exudes an imaginative musical flair, making you want to launch yourself into your own personal mosh pit of despair while seeking the elusive mystery known as the truth.

The Black Sheep is sludgy and down tuned, a standout cut showing Deserters at their most impassioned and imaginative. Scream presents a vibrant mix of blues and grunge that is wondrous to behold. And then the disc goes into relentless overdrive with the fantastic title cut The Slow Rhythms Of A Dead-Beat, going for the jugular and leaving the listener to contemplate the chilling manifestations of “the hate inside” and “the worst of times.”

Even in spite of all the relentless negativity, the aural experiences found within The Slow Rhythms Of A Dead-Beat are ultimately cathartic and wildly inspiring. This is extreme music at its most compelling, presented by a band whose fury and honesty bleeds profusely through the material. While some may find this daring new musical direction and the subject matters such as loss of faith and suicide a bit disturbing for their refined tastes, many others will hail The Slow Rhythms Of A Dead-Beat a dark and brooding masterwork that must be compulsively played at maximum volume time and again.

(Review by Kenneth Morton)

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