[This was supposed to be in the May issue of Harp, but Harp went out of business. So, I’m posting it here.]
Birthed by former members of Slint, Tortoise, and the Shipping News, Dead Child was to be an outlet for the members’ more visceral tendencies. A middling EP was released in early 2007, but with Dead Child’s full-length, Brad Wood-produced album, it’s made clear that the project is far from being a gag. From musicians so long engaged in experimentation and stylistic reconfigurations, the catholic incuriosity of Attack comes as something of a surprise. The utter familiarity of its elements instantly pegs Attack as a genre homage; Overkill (vocalist Dahm’s tight-throated melodicism) and Metallica (the pummeling grandiosity of longer cuts like “The Coldest Hands”) are obvious influences. The palm-muted power chords and flailing solos are ‘80s thrash metal staples, and Dead Child gloriously indulges in them throughout the album. There’s nothing revolutionary or ironic about Attack – other than the fact that it’s being released in 2008 – and that’s exactly the point.
Standout tracks: “Twitch of the Death Nerve,” “Eye to the Brain”