Pin It

CD Review: Dead Unicorn 

click to enlarge cd-dead-unicorn.gif

 

Independent, 2007

Grinding tectonic plates effect explosions of rock and magma that savagely drive the Earth’s surface underwater: Dead Unicorn is obviously a band practicing the art of rock and roll on multiple levels. The Kingston-based trio’s debut song cycle, Yellowstone Supervolcano, aurally dramatizes geologic apocalypse in 12 musical and spoken-word tracks. Producer (and occasional vocalist) Jason Martin successfully creates the broad sonic framework for bassist/vocalist Paul Heath and drummer/vocalist Zac Shaw to cinematically illustrate this widescreen vision of mayhem.

Dead Unicorn tears through the material with a gleeful malevolence reminiscent of early Killing Joke. This is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its impressive parts. The sound is broadly low-end, staccato riffing and machine-gun drum fills, but with hairpin turns in tempo, majestic squalls of distortion, and supple musicianship allied with superb production, lending the disc a very dynamic feel.

The songwriting is often infectiously catchy and propulsive, as on standout track “Yellowstone,” which includes the audaciously reductive chorus: “Tectonics in motion / underground explosion / Earth sinks into the ocean.” Unicorn’s sing/speak tracks are by turns eyewitness, authoritatively detached, shot through with urgency, and newsreel-ghostly. The vantage points are threaded together with a deft inventiveness.

Interestingly, the draconian logic of Mother Nature as interpreted by the band is anything but a bummer. The commitment and enthusiasm of the players make total destruction feel like a roller coaster of elemental thrills. An added bonus is the stellar packaging detailing other “imminent Apocalypse scenarios.”

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Man of the House

    Daryl Hall
    • Mar 1, 2015
  • CD Review: "The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project"

    If you want to catch some of the best jazz in the Hudson Valley, head over to the Derby bar and restaurant on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. Since 2013, the duo of pianist John Scanlon and bassist Ben Basile has held court there every Tuesday, jamming with an array of local talent each week and establishing Po-Town as a rising force in local bop.
    • Aug 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Birds: Enduring Feathered Creatures

Mondays-Fridays. Continues through Oct. 15 — Art exhibit focusing on birds, featuring paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures....

Colleagues: Hidden Talents 2016

Mondays-Fridays. Continues through Oct. 1 — Exhibit of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, 3-dimensional works, collages, fabric art, stitchery,...

View all of today's events

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • Afropop Worldwide
  • Afropop Worldwide

    An evening of music from Mali.
    • Nov 14, 2014
  • More »

More by Jeremy Schwartz

Hudson Valley Tweets