Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The elegance of howling guitar noise was fully realized when The Dead C appeared. For over twenty years now, the trio has continually redefined what rock music is and can sound like, and have inspired Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Wolf Eyes, and Comets On Fire, not to mention the current fertile underground noise scene. The Dead C is the ultimate Blues band. But rather than departing from the heartfelt singing of the African-American South, they express the tenants of alienation in society with unrelenting force, a focused soundtrack to accompany Knut Hamsun novels, Samuel Beckett plays, and Ingmar Bergman films. Michael Morley's monotonic vocal moan anchors the inherent isolation of our modern world.
The Wire (pp.54-55) - "Each of its four tracks sports grimy guitar riffs, driving drumbeats, and a purgative, moaning vocal; it may be corroded and crumbling, but it's undeniably rock music."
Signal To Noise (magazine) (p.55) - "'Mansions' begins the album with a catastrophic wallop of cymbals and a surge of grating guitars. It is rock 'n' roll of the most damaged, electrically fried variety: end-time punk for a corrupt century."
The latest album by 20-year New Zealand noise vets Dead C consists of four tracks that are expectedly lengthy but still thrive on minimalist dynamics. Opener "Mansions" is actually a relatively beefy production, with Bruce Russell's punishing bass drone and Michael Morley's ominous vocals high up in the mix. But as if to play games with listeners' ear drums, the following track, "Stations," is the record's most inaudibly lo-fi--and also its longest. And while things close out on a similar note of nearly silent cacophony with "Waves," the closing, "Plains," offers the EP's most musical 10 minutes, thanks to a reliably repetitive snare beat that keeps a bit of time amidst the meandering. SECRET EARTH may be for diehards, but might prove surprisingly enjoyable for people who want to take their gothic inclinations to a stripped-down extreme.