By Austin Simpson
VANCOUVER — Dead Again’s new EP, Space Basement, is heavy. The riffs wash over you in short, choppy bursts of frenetic, Nasum-inspired grind. This, in turn, is followed by Black Sabbath breakdowns overlaid by vocals that remind you of Shai Hulud or Disembodied. This abnormal combination of influences comes naturally, according to vocalist Cole Benoit.
“Everything is very much organic when writing with Dead Again, it’s never really been preconceived or limited in scope or sound, other than being heavy.” says Benoit. “The idea was that we’d have fast, grind-like parts and slow, sludgy parts and I would write lyrics about ‘80s horror and science fiction but that was about the extent of which we set parameters for Dead Again.” This approach is most evident when you compare DA’s Space Basement to 2013’s Occultus Lake.
Grind plays a much larger role on Space Basement, to the EP’s benefit. “Going into it, I think we really wanted to write some fast, complex songs, just to challenge ourselves,” Cole explains, “especially with ‘Our Lord and Butcher’, and that’s how it ended up coming out for this recording. With the newest stuff we’ve been writing, it continues along a similar trajectory as Occultus Lake and varies from song to song.”
The lyrics are also interesting, diving into horror classics of film and literature with concepts reminiscent of Wes Craven (“Space Basement”) and H.P. Lovecraft (“Blood Rites”). Although he condemns organized religion in “Our Lord and Butcher”, Benoit maintains that there was no intentional politicizing.
Cole gets down to details: “For me, the main focus when writing lyrics for Dead Again is a strong sense of vivid imagery and an interesting story or concept. Even when I’m writing about something specific… I try to do it in a way that conjures up strong visuals and is more thematic and story based.” And the story goes on, for one of Vancouver’s most original, heaviest acts.
“With that said, the quicker songs seem to be getting faster, and the sludgier songs getting slower,” Benoit continues. “So the opposite ends of our spectrum may become more extreme over time, in part, to keep ourselves interested as artists.” Interested as artists and interesting for fans. Space Basement, although only three songs long, presents an overwhelmingly positive direction for a band that (hopefully) will be around for some time to come.
Dead Again play at the Astoria Pub on July 5th.Astoria Pub, BC, British Columbia, Dead Again, Space Basement