The dizzying complexity of math metal cavorts with the unbridled energy of hardcore in Dead Lung, the debut album from Irish trio Murdock. There are so many areas to discuss that it’s tricky to work out where to start, but here goes. As moody as it is bonkers, so much ground is covered over these thirteen tracks that it would be impossible to break down the influences that permeate throughout. Not just the sum of it’s parts, this is a record that oozes with the technical ability of it’s performers, ability that is never outshone by the raw emotions on display. Far from it, in fact.
It’s no easy task to balance the mayhem of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Alexisonfire‘s anthemic prowess but Murdock do it on just about every track. ‘What You Don’t Like’ is loud and proud, snapping from sharp math metal riffs into a chorus that possesses a hook big enough to catch Moby Dick. After hearing this it’s obvious that these guys are onto something here. Feral snarls and repeated guitar stabs bend odd time signatures into structured chaos and sit happily next to happy go lucky gang vocals; gang vocals that are used sparingly throughout the album, utilized only when 100% necessary. There’s even a smooth sax filler track that segues into the quintessential Murdock anthem ‘Brain Face’. A track so inherently wicked and fun, one can only imagine the trio taking great pleasure from performing every jarring second of it.
Post-hardcore, of any ilk, has never been this angry. We’re not talking mad at your parents angry, this is fiercely pinpointed aggression. Precision guided and pissed off, ‘Old Blood’ and ‘Deer Noises’ are two shining examples of music that can bring out the beast in man. The latter truly sets the tone for the record, there is nary an opening track around as volatile as this. What makes Dead Lung so damn memorable, even given it’s reliance on the heavier side of hardcore, is that there is a surprise around every corner. There are riffs which just start to groove away, only to be rendered to dust in the air as a huge bass slide kicks the song out from under it’s own feet. Quiet turns to loud, in turn giving way to bedlam; a dynamic that fans of post genres will be familiar with, but will not have heard used quite so effectively or expansively. Album closer ‘Monographia’ book ends this riotous outing with a murky, slow burning dirge, reaching a sordid climax before retreating back into darkness.
It’s not just the variety of material which make this a strong contender for breakout album of the year. The synergy of guitar, bass and drums is mind boggling. Murdock’s rhythm section is just as integral to what makes this band tick as the guitars or vocals, especially considering there are countless moments where the guitars drop out. These leave it up to the groaning low end of the bass and beaten, syncopated drums to maintain the pull and thrust of noise rock goodness. Stop right there and pay attention to the guitarist and bassist again, as it is their snarling dual vocal barrage which cuts like a scythe through the maelstrom. Try not to chant “a shit stain on the world” along with Murdock, I dare you.
Dead Lung is full of the energy and raw talent that merit it’s comparisons to turn of the century albums from the likes of Converge and Poison The Well. Its release sees Murdock championing their own brand of technical hardcore, a brand that will see them recognized as the truly gifted merchants of noise that they most clearly are. Give this act some time and this album will be just the first stepping stone on a path paved with greatness.
Murdock’s Dead Lung gets…