July 15, 2006

CD Review: Deadstar Assembly - Unsaved

I decided to check out Deadstar Assembly's sophomore release based on this description: "poisonous blend of death-pop/industrial rock." Honestly, how was I expected to ignore something that has death-pop in its description? I had not heard of them before, but it definitely sounds like something that would be write up my alley.

I wasn't sure what to expect, except that I thought it would be loud, chaotic, and angry. What emanated from my speakers was right in line with what I expected, but in a different and unexpected way. It was not nearly as chaotic as I had expected, I expected them to be along lines similar to early Slipknot, when in actuality they would probably be better described as Slipknot by way of Nine Inch Nails with a touch of Orgy. They do have a thickly layered sound, filled with guitars and heavy percussion and plenty of synth, but it is more finely controlled than early Slipknot. I am not talking bad about Slipknot, but I think they got better the further they got along. Musically, Deadstar Assembly seems to be further down the maturing path.

The other band I can think of to compare them to would be God Lives Underwater. Both of these bands use a lot of electronics in creative ways, both within the familiar song structure of the rock song. The format has a fresh, yet familiar feel to it, instantly accessible but not at the cost of originality or edginess.

I was immediately hooked on Unsaved. This is an album that has a great flow straight through from start to finish. It has an ebb and flow that just takes you along for the ride. I was caught in the swirl of keyboards and electronics that flowed through and around the driving guitars, while the raw vocals make their aggressive mark known.

Unsaved opens with the intro track "Unsaved Pt. 1," introducing us to the heavy guitars, ethereal synths, incessant drums, of what is to come. What I like most about this opening was the use of acoustic guitars, they are faint, but add an ambiance that is as inviting as it is eerie. That opening flows right into the in you face aggression of "Unsaved Pt. 2."

"Killing Myself Again" and "Dejected" gather a head of steam with their outsider lyrics that seek to unite the downtrodden. They have this fantastic order through chaos aura that is testament to their strong songwriting abilities.

Deadstar Assembly slow the pace down with "Bled." There is a cry for attention in the line "I am more than nothing." This is a strong cut that leads into the final aggressive push as we head down the albums home stretch. The last song is "Death Wish." It starts off with a sample before moving into some hardcore synth/guitar action. It moves into the final closing track, "Perfectly Destroyed," an eerie guitar riff with a light synth played over the top of it, bringing Unsaved to an end.

The band is made up of vocalist Dearborn, who has a great voice, that is equally raw and inviting, guitarist Dreggs, drummer Cygnus, and bassist The Dro. I believe they all have a hand in the electronic side of the album, and they all shared producing duties. The final product is an album that I am glad made it's way to my collection.

Bottomline. An excellent combination of industrial and pop, with a distinctly harsh edge to it. This album was a surprise to me, displaying a well developed sense of songwriting. Unsaved hides within it songs that must be insane to see live. If you like death-pop and industrial rock, this is for you.

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