I sure seem to be covering a lot of DTB releases these days, but with all of the stuff on my review list DTB seems to have the more memorable releases for me for some reason and this static saturated post punk/death rock/goth and black metal hybrid really just works exceptionally well at grabbing my interest and maintaining with little to no effort exerted on my part to dissect it. My first lapse back to reality occurred well after several consecutive listens as the album tends to trigger a lucid but still druggy sonic blur of feellng in some of it’s songs that is a bit confusing given the song titles and the fact that it’s a black metal record on a fairly notorious label but is more fluffy and fluorescent than black. Expect to zone out with TOBC during parts of the album where there are these regions of upbeat psychedelic tones that are expressed in a strange delusional happy sort of narcotic induced euphoria like the opener “Bleakness in Blossom” which plays out like a breezy afternoon lazing around in a field of opium poppies. The thought of Dhampyr begins to come to mind with “Bleakness in Blossom” and perhaps a defrosted hint of Moloch’s emotional lung work and shrill melodies, which take a stronger presence in the siren-wailing tremolo melodies and spoken Polish of “Deca Dance”.
As the siren wail and piercing tremolo are flaring behind a seismic wall of pedal fuzz creating an eerie sense of sudden decline in mood from “Bleakness…” a simple classical piano begins to chime in and reshape the course from a descent out of a state of dazed and diffused as “Deca Dance” flows through it’s shoe gaze black metal course into the goth/post punk throbbing bass line driven “Distant”. The instant that punching 2-3 note bass line comes in it’s addictive and distinct and I’m thinking about very the dark romantic psychedelia of very early Cure, The Sound, and so on but then when the guitar tone and some of the classic wafting Tangerine Dream/ Berlin School synth wahs swirl around the inside of my head I’m drunk on nostalgia and whatever frequencies this album is massaging my brain with. At this point I’m only 3 songs into 9 and am mentally stumbling in a state of simultaneous bliss and moody sulking (?). Sort of like My Bloody Valentine the shoe gaze psychedelia envelops your emotions into a feeling dysthymia yet you’re smiling and happily wallowing in an altered state of mind and being.
The way that the album continues to keep the haze heavy in the mind like eyelids rubbed with opioid oil but still continues to boast frantic hysterical fits of anguishing vocals amidst some aggressively lower end tones and rhythms from the rhythm section beneath it all is what makes it so Goddamn effective and memorable. Plus, much of the album is connected in a smooth flow from one song to the next resulting in a sort of prolonged buzz and fluid “floating” movement throughout that contains a dynamic collage of ethereal psyche drifts like “Good Mourning” as well as many instrumental expanses in songs upon which the contrasting explosive rage and frustration moments are thrust. It’s just as though chaos and bliss came together in a surreal/dreamlike encounter that would come to be known and remembered as What It’s Like to be Undead and the prime example of the full potency of what this Polish act can intoxicate with is heard on “Un”.
“Un” begins as the eerie deserted siren wail guitar lead backed by an almost amelodic tremlo riff that gradually begins to increase in volume as if it’s approaching from afar. The drums and bass lines begin to take shape as the riffs become aggressive and the climax nears, but JUST as the explosion is set to occur it fizzles out into a gloomy yet beautiful melodic daze. The shoe gaze daze isn’t utter drifting and slumbering though as it can be though. There’s a continual suspense build-up in the bass and percussion underneath that makes one edgy in anticipation until the song just ends without it ever taking off, but “Dead Nation” brings the full extent of desertion to the foreground and the inferno does finally combust into despair and somehow ties all of the moods like loose ends into a enormous slipknot.
What It’s Like to be Undead is the second album from TOBC, a Polish solo artist, and there’s virtually no info from DTB but he does have a FB page:
This album is incredible!!!! I have not heard his debut but will definitely be grabbing my non-digital copy now that it has been officially released. You really NEED to hear this album so I’m uploading at least part of it for you here.