The Darker Shape of Punk to Come:
Death Index Review + Stream

Carson Cox is getting back to his punk roots. Before Merchandise, he got his start playing in hard-core punk bands Neon Blud and Church Whip. His latest project, Death Index, just dropped its self-titled album via Death Wish. Despite going in a more radio rock friendly direction, Merchandise’s last album, After the End, was on point, but I’m even more impressed here, as this feels refreshing rather than him just getting back to basics – these songs are brimming with visceral honesty. Vocally, not much has changed for Carson. In fact, the first song takes a couple of listens before you get used to hearing him croon over “Fast Money Kill.” This vocal approach makes more sense with the more accented groove of “Dream Machine.” The song swaggers into that crossroads in the 80s where punk got darker and more melodic. Very compactly written, the songs are stripped to the three-minute mark. The throb of “the Meal” marches through the shadows of dirty back alleys, with feedback squealing off the edges. When they throw themselves into a more boisterous punk on the short blast of “Furio Controllo,” their sound finds more common ground with the Stooges than with Negative Approach. The punk spasms come from unexpected places, jumping out at you right as you are expecting a chorus to come in.

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On both “Fup” and “Little N Pretty,” Carson’s vocals carry most of the melodic weight, with the instrumentation digging into a heavier density to this jagged, post-punk feel. The guitar playing sticks to the basics required for this style of punk, with no hints of his often shoegazey other band lingering around. The first song where they wander out into left field for experimentation is “Lost Bodies.” Pulling from the drug-encrusted hours of the early morning, the effected vocals on this song would not be out of place on an industrial album from the 80s. “We’ve A Got Number” feels very honest, with a rambunctious attitude exploding from it. Dynamically, these songs generally have a lot to offer. The thump of overdriven bass drags the brooding “JFK” out into the daylight. Its droning lumber thuds into your ears like early Swans. There is a downtrodden lethargy to the mumbling narrative Carson gives on this one.

 

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One of this album’s strengths is displayed on the final song, “Patto Con Dio,” as it hits hard without relying on aggression. There is still enough room in this song for Cox’s vocal to move its melodies around. On the final two minutes of this one, they let boil on noise. Cemetery’s last album might have been the last punk album dark enough to win me over, so it’s good to hear something this fresh from an old familiar voice. Cox sounds great here vocally, and I love hearing him do his thing with different backdrop. Hopefully, making this album gave him something to take back with him when he goes into the studio with Merchandise. If you have ever wished that back would give you something with more kick to it, then this album has your name all over it…

Peep the DEATH INDEX Tumblr.

 

 

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The Author

Wil Cifer

Wil Cifer

Wil spouts his thoughts and theories on metal / goth/ post-punk/ and darker indie rock on blogs like Abysmal Hymns,No Clean Singing, Geekinthings, Treblezine etc...
He is very passionate about horror movies, comic books, the occult and Morrissey , though David Bowie will live on in his heart forever

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