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Dead Skeletons - Dead Magick

 
19 March, 2012
 
 
 

By Nixxie

 

Dead Skeletons. At first sight, the name didn't turn me on. I mean I'm the kind of person who laughed during Airheads when they were mocking Brandon Fraser for pluralizing the Lone Rangers. And, well, skeletons by definition tend to be dead. Or, at the risk of putting too fine a point on this, they are neither alive nor dead, they just are. But certainly if one thinks they are dead, then there's no need to actually state it; pleonasm = bad. Unless of course there's a reason for the added emphasis. The more I listened to this album, Dead Magick, the more I started to feel that perhaps there is…

 

So why all the death then? Is this another Nordic doom-gloom act? No. In actual fact the message here is conversely a very positive one: to live. This Icelandic outfit is basically using this particular subject matter - the great unknown - to pass on a very distinct and clear message to us: living in fear is hardly living at all. Or, to quote the Spanish proverb that is in part the inspiration for the first track, Dead Mantra, "He Who Fears Death Cannot Enjoy Life". These very words are worked into the 8:30 minute opener, hauntingly repeating over and over (presumably to help it sink in). In any case we're off to a very good start with Dead Mantra, which was actually written and produced more than 4 years ago and re-released here. You feel drawn into its dark yet strangely uplifting vibe. And this is one feature of this LP that makes it extremely interesting to listen to. It's a little hard to explain how something dark ends up giving me such a positive vibe. The use of droning, repetitive beats, vocals on Dead Mantra, Kingdom of God and especially Get On The Train create some very vivid images, generally of being alive. I yes, I too could easily imagine these tracks featuring on a soundtrack or three.

 

My two favourite tracks on this album are by far Ask Seek Knock and Ljosberrinn. Those who know me by now know well that I seriously enjoy being teleported when I listen to music and A.S.K. is an astoundingly well-crafted piece of music in that sense. The female vocal certainly adds a new dimension that we didn't get on many of the other tracks, and the sounds they have woven into this song, the guitars in particular, are engineered to perfection. Ljosberinn, which I'm told in Icelandic means the light-bearer / messenger of light, is equally as entrancing as A.S.K. if not more.

 

Now a word of caution: this is not the kind of immediately accessible piece of music that will get most people going on their first session. But therein lies the beauty, because if you invest the time to get into this, beyond the first initial layers that is, you will be amply rewarded. This one is a keeper.

 

Track 9, Live!/Lifðu!, is another uplifting one, to the point that it makes we want to get up and start dancing (try it and see for yourself). I can't follow the lyrics but the message seems pretty clear… When The Sun Comes Up is another gem. If you were dancing on the previous track, then hold that thought and keep it going this one. As I've mentioned before, the beat is repetitive, but in a good way, the vocals are there but at the same time they aren't. They fade in and out until you feel like it's the music that's speaking to you. Come the end, you feel high, lifted.

 

Yama made me feel like I was secretly evesdropping one same ancient dark ritual being held in a secret cavern in India… OK I might have had an Indiana Jones flashback before you start questioning  my sanity…

 

If I absolutely had to be nitpicky and share with you some negatives for this album, I would restrict my criticisms to simply saying that I felt the first eponymous Dead Magick track was a little out of sync with the rest of the album, and it didn't sound as polished as the rest.  But if in an album of 12 tracks I can only find fault only with one, we're surely onto a winner. I'm very much looking forward to seeing Jón Sæmundur Auðarson (aka Nonni Dead), Henrik Björnsson (Singapore Sling) and Ryan Carlson Van Kriedt (Asteroid4)  live to see how this all translates on stage.  

  

 


QUICK ALBUM FACTS

Primary Genre: Rock

Subgenre: Psychedelic

Release Date: 22 November 2011

Label: A. Records

Influences: The Jesus And Mary Chain, Suicide

Like This And You'll Probably Also Like: Life

Album Highlights:  Ask, Seek, Knock, Ljosberinn, When The Sun Comes Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead +Skeletons +nonni +dead

 


NIX'S 2 CENTS

 

"An absolute must in any record collection, 8.5/10"

 

Dead Skeletons

 

 

Contributor mini-profile

 
Nixxie

Nixxie

 
24 Fluffy Reviews
 
"Made Glorious Summer By This Son Of York"
 
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Mini bio
Raised in England, educated by France, originally from Greece. 
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Check the About Nixxie section for more.
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