"III: The Forest Within The Tree"

By Lord Randall

Arkansan quintet DEADBIRD slammed into my consciousness in 2008 with the lumbering monolith that was (and is) "Twilight Ritual", released via sludge/doom stalwart At A Loss Recordings, and then…crickets. Hope – or the lack thereof – was revived with the band’s 2010 split with grind merchants BURNED UP BLED DRY and yet, locust-like, there followed silence. Of course there are a few hundred other bands hawking the same sonic wares these days, but I found myself wandering back to DEADBIRD, thus it is with rekindled hope that the band returns, like a bad penny or plague, with "III: The Forest Within The Tree". 

Somber, sparse acoustics lead off ‘The Singularity’ languid vocals intoning ala the acoustic work of ALICE IN CHAINS “It's Taken Some Time to Climb Out the Other Side”, almost but not quite the greeting of a returning friend explaining his absence. As bereft as ‘The Singularity’ is, it’s all swept away in the flood of flaming tar that is ‘Luciferous Heart’ which manages to be at once lumbering and incendiary, something many attempt these days, but at which few succeed. ‘Alexandria’ works as a would-be lynchpin, and a case could be made for the pounding pummel within its 3+ minutes being the most feral, aggressive moment to be found within the album’s playing time. ‘Brought Low’ moans and groans, plaintive and chock full of the sort of psychedelia NEUROSIS gets up to from time to time without coming close to mimicry, while ‘Ending’ is just what the title implies, wordless, liquid and luminescent, an ideal finale to what’s come before. 

By trimming nearly ten minutes off of its previous two full-lengths, DEADBIRD has crafted with "III: The Forest Within The Tree" nothing less than the measure against which all that comes after from the band will be weighed.