Album Review: DEAD IN THE DIRT The Blind Hole
After two EPs Atlanta, GA's Dead in the Dirt has unleashed their first proper full length on Southern Lord Records. The band has already set the bar incredibly high for themselves with Fear and Void. The Blind Hole sees the band jutting out into alternating territories and burning through songs as though they were covered in petrol.
The Blind Hole is more of a continuation of the sound found on Fear. Incredibly fast, unrelenting grind infused with elements of hardcore-punk, crust, sludge, and black metal. The album is chock-full of breakdowns and screeching feedback ala Scholastic Deth. While I would have said that their previous EP, Fear, was trying to match Xbraniax in sheer speed at some points, here the band has settled back a bit. The songs in many ways feel more refined and matured. Pieces like “You Bury Me” and “Strength Through Restraint” push a slower, sludgier feel, though still share in their fast parts that were only touched upon in EPs.
Dead in the Dirt manage to really slam into gear with songs like the excellent “Cop,” which uses a harrowing and amazing poem by Jim Harrison called “No Chain” at the end to lead into a song by the same title. The nineteen second “Skullbinding” is another blaster that sounds like an jet engine rigged with dynamite. Their unrelenting speed is like a shot of adrenaline. “The Last Nail” and “Two Flames” push this mentality as well really grinding things up. People that love blast beats will find their hearts practically bursting from their chests. This is a band that knows how to blast and they do it damn well. Absolutely merciless blast beating.
Probably the best song on the entire album is “Will is the War.” The song is melodic, brooding, heavy, dark, and sludgy while still managing to fit in frenzied blasts, and strained screams. It is sheer madness and easily the best song the band has ever put together. It grabs you by the throat and manages to take you through almost every subgenre you can think of in metal and hardcore. The amazing thing is, Dead in the Dirt make it sound almost too easy. When a band mingles in sub-genre mixing, “Will is the War” is one of the standards to which they should be held.
Still other parts of The Blind Hole just fall in between other, more straight forward songs on the album. They're not always particularly fast or slow. “The Pit of Me” mingles in slower sections and brief blasts but has portions that are simply allegretto. “Knife in the Feathers” dabbles in a similar style though with more speed and a breakdown for variation.
When all is said and done, The Blind Hole is a very good first release for Dead in the Dirt. They're varied enough to keep songs interesting and the album captures the quality of their previous EPs. It's a short album but those that have heard the band's previous work know that thirty second songs are what's to be expected. At twenty-two songs the The Blind Hole clocks in at twenty-three minutes. If you like the thrashy, blast driven powerviolence of Scholastic Deth, the blinding, blasting grind of Rotten Sound, and the sludgier/crustier aspects of Full of Hell then The Blind Hole is worth falling into.