Dead Child

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Attack Review

by Gregory Heaney

Post-rock's perpetual dabbler, David Pajo, has been a busy man, lending his guitar to a veritable who's who list of acts ranging from Tortoise to Zwan to Bonnie Prince Billy, as well as his own solo work. With Dead Child's Attack, Pajo returns to the group scene. Living up to its title, the album is an unrelenting metal assault; a 47-minute love letter to British heavy metal that simultaneously pays homage to and modernizes the sounds of metal luminaries like Judas Priest, Motörhead, and Iron Maiden. Dead Child takes classic metal and makes it their own, combing the galloping pace of the new wave of British heavy metal and adding lumbering, detuned guitar, creating a sound that's crushing and unyielding. "Angel of the Odd" and "Never Bet the Devil Your Head" come barreling out like runaway sonic freight trains, rolling over everything in their paths without ever slowing down, while also showing off the vocal talents of Dead Child vocalist Dahm, whose versatile wail is reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford. Attack is really at its heaviest when the songs are at their longest. On "The Coldest Hands" and "Black Halo Rider," both clocking in at over seven minutes, are dark and thundering minor-key endurance tests. "The Coldest Hands" especially seems to pay tribute to the crawling, riff-driven style of Black Sabbath. The one trait that really shines through on every track is sincerity. Dead Child gives a nod to early metal without a coy wink. You'll find no ironic denim vests or tongue-in-cheek glam excess on Attack, just the unrelenting vigor of classic heavy metal.

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