DEAD SONS – ‘THE HOLLERS AND THE HYMNS'’

Previous outfits and sluggish analogies discarded, the Dead Sons tale is far more in-depth than banal judgments may suggest. Of course the idle Arctic comparisons will creep out in all their futile splendour, but it’s far more likely that Tom Rowley and his band draw their thunderous and unholy racket from the same spilled chalice that Wet Nuns are gulping from. However, if you weren’t aware, it turns out that five Steel City leather-clad rockers can summon a great deal more demons than two…

Track one, on The Hollers And The Hymns‘, titled 'Ghost Train’, kicks the door open to raid the vaults of darkness, thumping like thunder, it’s tumbling lyricism strikes concurrently over its driving bass lines and double-drum assault. As the sinister theme continues, ‘Shotgun Woman’ summons the shadows with its haunting organs, and ‘Bangonfullturn’ wails somewhere between Rasputin, Nick Cave and Jim Morrison, never pausing for breath, because life in the fast lane is a gratifying reality.

The album’s official debut single, ‘Hangman’, roars like the soundtrack to medieval murder, channelled through the psyche of Richard Hawley’s latest triumph, ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’. Echoing like an anthem for the damned, it lands somewhere between BRMC and Black Mountain with the heftiest douse of guitar fuzz imaginable. At their most tender, ‘Temptation Pool’ delivers its sobering tones through one of their dauntingly confessional statements, ‘fooled by a kiss, kissed by a fool, who can resist the lure of the temptation pool’. An early Sons’ release, ‘Junk Room’, follows, exposing yet more spookiness during its opening seconds that is, once again, swiftly snuffed out by another spell of unyielding pounding on the blackened soul of this noir indie-rock union.

This is a record devoted to noise; raw, booze-doused and unforgiving noise that demands to be played at a deafening, almost unfathomable volume. ‘Hold On’ changes things a little, sounding like something Tom Waits discarded from ‘Mule Variations’, but before that, ‘The Hollers and The Hymns’ bares its ghostly fangs; it’s subdued beginning escalates to a summit of rock and roll and the foot is down as Luke Baker and Tom trade fire-raising riffs heaved from belly of a beast. As this genuinely remarkable hellfire roar is released, Tom howls ‘are you the one we’ve been waiting for?’ above this glorious damnation of unstoppable vigour, and should we turn this question upon Dead Sons, they might tell us they are – and we’d be foolish not to agree.


Daniel Jones