Review: Dead Register ‘Don’t Fail Me’

Sometimes you stumble upon a band that you can’t turn away from. You can’t pinpoint exactly why, or what it is they have so many others don’t, but something just grabs you, and forces you to listen with every ounce of your being. Dead Register are one of those bands.

Dead Register 'Don't Fail Me'

Like I’ve said, I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is, Dead Register aren’t reinventing the wheel or anything, but what they are doing is attaching themselves to your very soul, with their downbeat, post-rock compositions. Nestled somewhere firmly between The Cure (yes, you read that right), and Neurosis, this outlandish trio are really taking on a dark persona, and making things far more somber indeed.

On first listen to the new EP, Don’t Fail Me, if you didn’t know any better, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is made up of five brand spanking new tunes, each one more and more captivating than the last. What this actually is, is one incredible new track, which is also the title, Don’t Fail Me, three live tracks, and a completely reimagined remix of Don’t Fail Me, by the incredible Lament Cityscape, who take the tune, and completely reinvent it, until it’s pretty much unrecognisable.

I guess, until a new LP comes to the table, this EP will have to fill the gap, and thankfullyit really is a nice little interlude for the time being indeed.

The middle three tracks were recorded at The Freetown BOOM BOOM ROOM, in Lafayette, Louisiana, during their tour in the Autumn of two thousand and nineteen, and if you play the EP through, it takes a moment to even notice the recordings are from a live performance at all.

As for the band themselves, the three piece from Georgia, US is made up of M. Chvasta and his wife Avril Che, and along with Randy Garcia on drums and percussion, what a perfect little storm they create musically. Dark and brooding, somber and unsettling, there’s a real air of nostalgia in their sound, but at the same time, something new and doom laden too.

On premiering this EP, I didn’t really know what to expect at all, I rarely read the blurbs that accompany the albums, I like to let the music speak for itself, and not be swayed into any sort of mindset before even giving a band the chance to let the music speak for itself.Well, this took me completely by surprise, I really wasn’t expecting what I would witness over the next half an hour of my life. As I made my notes, it was really niggling at me as to what I could draw comparison with, band wise, so as to give the best opinion.

Dark and brooding, somber and unsettling, there’s a real air of nostalgia in their sound…

I initially opted for Khoma, as it does have a real dark, European feel to it, and it’s a little Katatonia too, in its darkness, but also heavier. In a moment of clarity, I spotted a similarity to The Cure, which shocked me, as I never would have really put them into a comparison of doom bands, especially not alongside Neurosis!! But that was exactly the feeling I get when I listened, so was actually surprised going through the blurb afterwards, that I am not alone in that comparison. Its dark and mysterious, in a way that The Cure always captured on record. And it works so well. It really adds another level, and drives home that foreboding feeling, that’s for sure.

The title track, Don’t Fail Me, even from the start, gives off a dark and sinister feel, a presence looming in the shadows. As the chorus drops in, it’s like a sledgehammer, and it really elevates the somber mood. It’s crushingly heavy during the chorus passages, and the vocal is absolutely perfect alongside the dark soundtrack. This is where I feel those dark Scandinavian soundscapes the most, cold, morose, and dark as night.

The three live tracks, Ender, Circle Of Lies, and Fiber, really solidify just how great Dead Register are, both in the studio, and in a live setting. With pounding drums, chunky basslines, and all manner of ambient sounds going on around those incredible vocals, it really makes catching the band live, a must. If we do ever get back to having live shows that is. The pulsating, throbbing, bass led tracks, really bring home the feel of live performances, but its track four, Fiber, that does it for me. This beast chugs like a mother, its thunderous and enthralling. By the time the breakdown solo is upon us, each part is entirely immersed, and even as a listener, to imagine the flow being generated on the stage is otherworldly.

As Laments Cityscape’s reworked version of Don’t Fail Me, simply entitled Failed rolls in to finish proceedings, it again, reveals just how versatile Dead Register really are. After four tracks of avant doom, this is far more industrial, and everything you think you know about the band, can be discarded for a moment. It strips down the track to the bare bones, and rebuilds it into something completely new, a real revelation for all parties involved.

As I look back over the EP, it surprises me that it works, a studio track, some live work, and an industrial remix. On paper it shouldn’t work, but it does. The whole thing has been a revelation, I promptly visit the back catalogue to make some purchases, just to fully embrace Dead Register, in what I think is going to be an ongoing love for many years to come.In absence of a new album, the EP will do… for now…

Label: AVR Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish