Before Pallbearer came and blew the roof off of the Little Rock, Arkansas, metal scene, there were local bands like Rwake, Seahag and Deadbird who were taking heavy music into weird and compelling places, influenced by sludgy Southern luminaries like Eyehategod and Buzzov*en. Equally anchored in the teachings of Black Sabbath and Neurosis, Deadbird have been one of the best since their formation in the early Aughts — visceral, forward-thinking and unique. Their 2008 offering Twilight Ritual came and went via At a Loss Recordings, leaving the knowledgeable in awe, and also in suspense. Now, 10 years later, Deadbird have crept back into our hearts with their latest album, III: The Forest Within the Tree, another wildly creative LP that dips into doom and sludge with a progressive bent. (You can order your copy via 20 Buck Spin.)
Their latest single is "Brought Low," which opens with somber strains that touch on Deadbirds' country roots, blossoming into a heavier riff teetering in the darkness. Then it all explodes, taking those somber quiet moments and turning them inside out for an epic, harmonized dual-guitar chorus. The whole thing then spirals back for the listener to take the journey again, descending down a hole of despair and shadowed beauty.
Deadbird guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schaaf, who also spent time in Pallbearer during the band's early stages, says of the new album, "Alan [Short, guitar, vocals] and I more or less split the songs down the middle, vocal-wise, on this record. He sings 'Luciferous Heart' and 'Alexandria' and wrote the words for those two. I sing 'The Singularity,' 'Heyday' and this song, 'Brought Low,' and wrote those lyrics. On 'Bone & Ash,' everything is more or less 50/50. When we were in the studio together with Alan Burcham cutting vocals I made the statement that I was attempting to come from a different place in my heart on this one. I'm a father now and realized that the incessant self-loathing that dominated my twenties and thirties was no place to come from as a parent. Alan said he had done the same thing in trying to come from a more uplifting/positive space. We're all dads. We joke and call the band Dadbird at times. I've worked real hard to change a lot of my perspective and thinking about myself, people and the world in general in light of fatherhood. Choosing to look for the good, the positive, the sublime aspects of this world. I feel like there is a pushback amongst us regular folk against all this division and hatred and atrocities that we're bombarded with everywhere we look. You don't generally hear about all the acts of kindness, though. It's not good for ratings, I guess. This track right here, though, is straight-up about being blindsided by depression/anxiety and the absolute self-hatred and hopelessness that those two psychological/emotional aberrations scream at you from within your mind the whole time you're in that hole."
Deadbird Record Release Shows:
10/12/2018 White Water Tavern – Little Rock, AR w/ Terminal Nation, Tranquilo.
10/13/2018 Backspace – Fayetteville, AR w/ Bones Of The Earth, Groaners