Jan-Simon : Ten years ago Deadbird’s previous record was released. Ten years ago I just started at Lords of Metal and ‘Twilight Ritual’ was one of the first albums I got to review. I remember it was not easy, but ten years later what I remember most about Deadbird is the wonderful cover created by John Dyer Baizley. Much can change in ten years, I can tell you stories about that.
Many things have changed for Deadbird, but not to the point the band is incomparable with the previous incarnation. At first hearing, the third album ‘III: The Forest Within The Tree’ is not that different from ‘Twilight Ritual’. But the band did evolve. Moving to the Arkansas state capital, personnel has come and gone, everyone is ten years older. The band’s musical course has not changed though. Deadbird still adheres a scorched-earth policy with a flammable mix of southern rock, sludge and Neurosis-meets-Mastodon style post metal. It is more balanced and melodic though. Less rowdy and rough, even though the pace seems to be a bit higher. One might even think the band grew up, especially after the quiet intro ‘The Singularity’ and the first four minutes of ‘Luciferous Heart’. But then, all of a sudden, things heat up and you get a real bombardment of riffs. The main difference with ‘Twilight Ritual’ is the vocals. They used to be mainly growly and gravelly, but now there are no less than six persons that have ‘vocals’ behind their names. The diversity and background singing are quite an improvement, although it must be said not all singers are equally talented.
It is a pity that the ten years that have passed since the last record resulted in only five real songs and three filler intermezzo pieces. There are probably sound reasons for that, for instance guitar player Chuck Schaaf was part of Pallbearer for a while and Christopher Terry (“CT”) and bass player Jeff Morgan double in Rwake. Nevertheless, there was a small hope for more and what we have now is in reality nothing more than a long EP. Compared to ‘Twilight Ritual’ (which could hardly be called an endurance test either), ‘III: The Forest Within The Tree’ is not one but many steps forward. More accessible without selling out. This may sound contradictory, yet is exactly what Deadbird does. If you want to know how they do that, just listen to it yourself.