Murdock: Dead Lung

Artist: Murdock
Title: Dead Lung
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 13th April 2015
Reviewed By: Adam DT

In 2007 the Dillinger Escape Plan released Ire Works. In my mind that album defined a genre. Weather you call it Mathcore, Hardcore, Techrock or the sound of some musicians losing the plot in the best possible way, for me that album set the bar. So now, when I hear someone making twisted, jerky, unsettling, spazzy metal I can”t help but feel like they are swimming in Dillinger’s wake.
So how do Murdock compare with such a narrow minded view? Well, to be honest, pretty favourably. The most obvious reason for this is that they are fundamentally not trying to be Dillinger, or anyone else for that matter. They bring plenty of their own insanity to the psych report: a slew of technically demanding rhythms and guitar lines are balanced by swaggering, heavy grooves, vocals screamed, sung and whispered and song structures that tend to descend beautifully into atypical streams of consciousness.
Slightly unusually for a techy, proggy metal band, Murdock are only a three piece. Occasionally this results in the same unfussy approach to complicated music that works so well for Converge and We Are Knuckle Dragger. It also allows the space in the mix for some genuinely huge moments: the thunderously distorted bass line of Narrowcasting for instance, or the ominous, proggy wash of fuzz and mellow melodies (mellowdies?) on album closer Monographia. I wonder how convincingly just three people can paint such a big picture live, but I’d be only too happy to find out first hand.

There is a whole lot on Dead Lung to hold your attention. Each track throws a different fistful of ideas at you, and whilst they can’t all be killer, the vast majority are pretty damn good. Check out Brain Face for two minutes of heavy, abrasive punk/hardcore, check out I Am Not A Continent for some Genghis Tron-esque, genre melting insanity and try Nineteeneightyfive for some Amenra, Ufomammut style ambiance and doomy guitars. Each song brings new angles to Murdock’s sound, making this a long, twisty album that it is absolutely worth trying to bend your ear around. 

This is niche music. It is technical and aggressive, challenging and even hard work to listen to in places, but it seems pretty clear that Murdock intended this. This is an album that demands more than one listen to properly appreciate. It is rich with creative freedom and looks for a common thread in its unpredictability. Whether it does so successfully or not almost shouldn’t matter, but for what it’s worth, I think they pull it off.

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