Premiere: DEAD ‘Riding Shadows’ – Taken From New Album ‘The Laughing Shadow’

DEAD, the Australian doom and noise-rockers, who we first covered on The Shaman back in 2013 with a review of Idiots, are now preparing to release their new album The Laughing Shadow, and compared to their previous output, the duo of Jace (bass) and Jem (drums) have turned their creativity on its head.


The Laughing Shadow features one near forty-minute track, split into eight ‘movements’ which transcends a musical landscape of doom, drone, noise-rock, psych, prog and everything in between. And in a further twist, they’ve ditched the vocals and brought in guest musician Jenny Divers, whose saxophone flourishes give a serene feel making it a perfect addition to the sonics on display.

Set to be released through three labels, WeEmptyRooms, Wantage USA and Forbidden Place Records on the 14th October, as long-standing fans of the band, it’s The Shaman’s absolute honour to bring you the second ‘movement’ from the new long player in the form of Riding Shadows

More on DEAD & ‘The Laughing Shadow’

Australia’s DEAD return with another album that refuses to be constrained by genre boundaries. This may be their most ambitious release to date.

An inability to play live and personal hardships served as the inspiration for the release. Breaking away from their previous work, the duo created two massive pieces of music that consist of a number of smaller movements. The album is intended to be listened to in full.


The Laughing Shadow spans multiple different genres and styles, drawing inspiration from each but not quite fitting into any. These elements are expertly woven into one another to create an ever flowing and changing stream of music. The band have constructed this in such a way that it never feels disjointed or forced in its blending either.

Given that this is the band’s first fully instrumental release it might be somewhat of a shock to long-time fans. Only time will tell how it will be received, but for those who appreciate quality instrumental music this may be DEAD‘s most impressive album to date.

About The Laughing Shadow, drummer Jem says:

This album is the first time we removed our tongues from our collective cheek for a moment. We used it to process our grief and to deal with the uncertainty and anguish of lockdowns. While writing it we lost friends and family to the virus, suicide and more. For the most part funerals or gatherings of any kind were not possible. I clung onto this music like a kid does to their teddy.

As a band who toured nonstop for 10 years it hit hard suddenly not being able to do what we love most. We were determined to make something positive from it.

Dead - Live
Dead – Live

The opening track, The Cowboy, is the oldest song we have – written some years before we formed DEAD. We decided to build an album around this song that would be one long form piece made up of smaller ‘scenes’. We pretended we had an orchestra. We wrote the bulk of it in Alex’s barn/recording studio in Campbells Creek – masked up, at opposite ends of the room. We’ve never gone so long without hugging each other.

Our friend Mike Deslandes recorded it in that same barn – it felt significant to be able to do that. We did one take of each scene, in order and the warts are very much left in there for your benefit. The sounds you hear are the sounds of the instruments in that space.

Dead 'The Laughing Shadow'
Dead ‘The Laughing Shadow’ Artwork

I mixed the record with Mike at his house. I’m grateful we had him working with us. Every part of the process had a different kind of weight to it than before. I wanted it to be over and to never end at the same time. At some point I told Jace that I might have to never play these songs again. So, like a million other bands this is our pandemic album.

The Laughing Shadow Movements:
Side A

01. The Cowboy
02. Riding Shadows
03. Death
04. Light, Flicker, Dark

Side B
05. Disgraced Former Detective/Silence
06. The Cracking Façade
07. Bastard Return
08. The Laughing Shadow

DEAD is:
Jace – Basses, Guitars
Jem – Drums, Metal Percussion

Guest musician:
Jenny Divers – Saxophone

The Laughing Shadow, the new long-player from Australia’s DEAD, releases 14th October across three labels; WeEmptyRooms, Wantage USA and Forbidden Place Records. Pre-orders are available for the limited vinyl and digital download over on Bandcamp.

Label: WeEmptyRooms | Wantage USA | Forbidden Place Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram