Captive by Dead RegisterRelease date: November 2, 2018
Label: AVR Records
With the new EP Captive, Dead Register capture the doom pop aesthetic, mainly living up well to past accolades that they sound like The Cure covering Neurosis (possibly), Peter Murphy covering Swans (yup) and Bauhaus covering Type O Negative (defo) as opposed to Dead Can Dance covering Isis (WTF? I mean, what would that sound like?). Their sound is characterised by a bass-heavy front end, including a bass VI and piano bass, and no guitar at all, as far as I can see or hear. The sound isn’t restricted in any way, it’s just … lower.
Opener ‘Captive’ hits the low notes from the off: slow, with a gloomy rumbling bassline, it sets the scene for the whole EP, with its melodic signature riff that complements the vocals perfectly. Dead Register do morose for a living, embodying the late 80s goth sound a la early Paradise Lost and Sisters of Mercy, with a smattering of Bauhaus-type mystery thrown in. I can relate to it a lot. I was a teen during that era and I listened to a ton of bands with a similar vibe. Dead Register do it very well, and I really enjoyed this album a great deal. Parts are very catchy: ‘Heresy’ in particular stays with the listener long after the tune has finished. Its persistent, melodic riff winds around the solid bassiness of the tune, and the chorus line of “The silence is overwhelming” comes back again and again. One tune is a cover of a Dead and Gone tune, ‘Blood from a Ghost’, which fits in well with the rest of the EP.
There’s not a dud track on this EP. Captive is a well-rounded slice of introspective gloom pop, giving a nod to the greats. It’s thoroughly listenable right to the end and recommended for those who need a fix of uplifting moroseness.