Lifted from the Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats Facebook page:
Arriving at an abandoned barn beneath a dead summer sky, Uncle Acid sets up his crackling vintage tweed amp. Nestled between bales of hay he sings tales of murder, lust and horror. He is soon joined by two female deadbeats he met hitchhiking. Playing on battered old pawn shop instruments, the trio record their tales onto a broken 8 track tape machine. A strange dynamic appears within the band, as Acid reveals himself as leader and controller of minds. The band has now taken over the barn. Illegal electricity powers old televisions and amplifiers. Old horror films play constantly as the trio delve deeper into a strange understanding based on drugs, lust and control. The music continues…
Metal can be a fine line. A paragraph like the one above can cast your band into realms of Spinal Tap silliness from which there is no escape. There is the off-chance that it just adds to the creepy and shrouded mystery that seemingly surrounds some bands – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats are one of those bands. I stumbled across these guys by accident..or maybe it was a perfectly placed dark trap for my ears and possibly my soul? Before I derail completely, I was about to say that I was drawn into their poppy, but doom-riddled sludge after one listen of I’ll Cut You Down. Back with their third album, Mind Control, the British quartet offer a tale of lust, horror, murder, and of course: mind control. This band is categorically listed as doom metal, something that might become obvious after a few listenings, but they don’t scream doom on the front end. Their last album, Blood Lust, was the perfect mix of fuzzed out tweed covered amps, vintage distortion pedals, and pop sensibility. It’s a strange mix, but it works perfectly for these ghouls from across the pond.
Imagine Anton LaVey, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and Black Sabbath went to an acid party and ended up jamming for a bunch of sweaty, writhing hippies holding swarms of poisonous snakes. Got the audio image? You’re probably dead on. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats write such catchy songs that you might never know what’s lurking within the lyrics. I assure you that it’s evil on every level. I’m not suggesting a little recreational chemistry before you throw on the headphones and sit hypnotized through these new tracks, but it certainly won’t hurt. Maybe peruse some of Aleister Crowley’s lighter reading beforehand.
Mt. Abraxas is the opening song. A seven minute doom masterpiece that surprised me for a record opener. I would have expected a shorter and more dynamic song right out of the gates, but Mt. Abraxas fits the more I listen to it. This is probably my ninth or tenth time through the album since Monday and it seems to be shifting and ebbing with every listen. This slow groove sets the tone for the entire record, something deep and sinister not content to exist in the darkness. Mind Control picks up the pace, mixing a bouncy beat, subtle keyboards, and fuzzed out guitars to lyrics of death and dying. I’m going to have to Google the gear these guys use – it’s fucking perfect for the style. If I were Tony Iommi, I might want to consider checking for missing rehearsal tapes.
The gem for me so far, is the single, Poison Apple. It’s placed perfectly and personifies so many of the signature sounds/themes this band loves to soak in. Using the word “baby” in a metal song can turn you into Nickelback or catapult you to Monster Magnet status. Clearly, a good thing in this case. The lyrics “I’m the water dripping from your drain/I’m the spider crawling through your brain” are so genuinely scary and vintage that you might feel like you’re being pandered to. It’s equal parts Sabbath, Blue Cheer, and Deep Purple; more concerned with grove and swing than anything else. This record is exciting and I’m positive it’s gaining more depth with every play.
Desert Ceremony sounds anything but dry. The trippy vocals and well-placed, power chords lull you to a sense of surrender, which is probably bad news for the people involved in this lyrical ceremony. This has to be what Jim Jones sounded like to his brainwashed followers. Evil Love is might be the most aggressive track so far. The aptly named middle track chugs along at full speed, complete with a rich pitch shifted solo and all. The middle section is a bit of an unusual progression for these bringers of slow doom. The double guitars shift repeatedly, going in multiple directions underneath a layer of reverb, delay, and palm muted metal runs.
Death Valley Blues is the band’s most relaxed and subdued song to date. The floaty verses blend into ringing power chords and big hooks drive the slow creep brewing through out this tale of doomed lust. There is such a strange 60’s vibe at play through these retro riffs and serial killer romance; equal parts The Beatles and the lost poems of Ted Bundy. Follow the Leader is the album’s sitar-laced offering. Comprised of basically nothing but power chords and Indian riffs, this track offers a wide path down hallucinatory roads. It’s a good break and palate cleanser for Valley of the Dolls. This is everything that’s right with new metal. Uncle Acid and his pea coat wearing band don’t adorn themselves with the darkest shade of black. Much like the bell bottomed Black Sabbath, this band carves its own path, putting the evil in the music – where it belongs. The cover of the album, an innocuous snow-capped mountain draped in retro graphics, relies on the band to move us into the darkness rather than a sharp, impossible to read metal logo and matching visual gloom.
The last track of the album declares the bold chug-chug-chug syncopation of the genre’s trademark sound. Not content to fall back on just a pounding beat, the echoing vocals paint a brilliant melody. “I’m the Devil, and I’m here to do the Devil’s work..” Dialed down guitars and bass support the constant beat nicely, adding a faraway feel to the song. All in all, Mind Control comes in like a lion, but leaves like a lamb. The song fades out to a simple tone from a synthesizer. And that, kids, is how you make a metal album in 2013. I urge you all to get this record. Your dealer and cult leader will be glad you did.