The Needle Drop


Stream These Dexter Strangeways Demos

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Dexter Strangeways is a London singer-songwriter with a promising album of demos uploaded to his SoundCloud page. He's got a strong, confident swagger to his vocals and songwriting, which is rare for a lot of self-uploaded these days. Though he's clearly young and just starting out, he's got the kind of catchy hooks and assured singing that I would expect from someone with a much longer discography. Also, I could see him appealing to fans of Daughn Gibson.

Morta Skuld- Through the Eyes of Death: The Early Demos

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My good friend Derek accompanies me yet again for an audio review. Yes! Awesome! Excited! Thankfully, the sound quality on this review is much better than the previous one, which I stilly APOLOGIZE humbly for. Sorry, seriously. Sorry. So, me and Derek dude go way back. We've been sharing music for ages. Recently, as I'm sure you guys know, I've been pretty interested in death metal. Partially, it's thanks to this guy and this book. Mostly, it's to do with the sound.

Anyway, Derek is pretty new to Death Metal, and I had these demos sitting in my lap. They were just begging for a review. Basically, I'm trying to kill two birds with one stone. Mission accomplished, I think.

Stream or download the review below, and find some links to some tracks from this demo set there, too. This release is out now on Relapse.


Steam: Morta Skuld- "Preacher of Lies" / "Feast From Within"

Video: Morta Skuld- "Prolong the Agony"

Morta Skuld- "Preacher of Lies"

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Like any other genre, death metal has its classics. Even though the style has remained relatively underground, pioneers like Death, Morbid Angel, and Atheist are considered seminal by metal fanatics. More contemporary groups such as Gojira and Opeth have altered the sound for an even more widespread appeal.

Considering the chromatic riffing, deafening distortion, tempo changes, and death growls, it's no wonder this stuff was relegated mostly to demo tapes in the late 80s and early 90s. The fortunate bands made it onto extreme music labels such as Earache, but even that didn't guarantee widespread success.

That was the case for Milwaukee's Morta Skuld. Not to say the group wasn't active in the death metal scene at the time. I'm sure the group's early career was a wild ride. In its heyday, Morta Skuld received favorable reviews, released several albums, and performed with metal greats like Slayer.

Still, time managed to forget about these guys, but Relapse records, I suppose, is making an effort to change that with a reissue of the band's early demos: Gory Departure and Prolong the Agony. These two EP-length releases have been combined with a few bonus tracks to create Through the Eyes of Death: The Early Demos.

In a time of glossy, overproduced death metal, the sounds on these demos are especially filthy. Plus, since these tracks were released in the early 90s, there's still a really prevalent thrash metal influence in the riffs. That's especially true of the track streaming above: "Preacher of Lies." Lyrically, this one's a strong jab at money-hungry preachers who siphon cash from their congregations. Sonically, it's an assault that I think has gotten dirtier over time.

Try out two more tracks from this demo reissue here and here. Like I said, find this thing on Relapse Records.

1 Minute Miracles Demos

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A recently dropped set of demos and early work from 1 Minute Miracles, which can only make the trajectory of this Canadian beatmeister more interesting. It's titled Wild Stepss, and stream its eight tracks above.

Find more recent work from this guy on his SoundCloud. Hopefully, that album he told me about is still on the way.

Try Band In Heaven | STREAM

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My Needle Drops, I bring you a shoegaze duo that's in the midst of demo stages right now, but still brings a lot to the table.

The Band In Heaven sports a strong pop sensibility, and they make sure you hear it. It's a trophy standing on a pedestal of guitar distortion and feedback. The sounds can be pretty punishing, but there's a blissful, mind-numbing quality to their music, too. It could be likened to dream pop, but sleep is the last thing on my mind when this is on.

There are some definite gems in the handful of tracks the project has assembled so far. As rough as it is, their cover of the Cranberries' "Dreams" rivals the original. The song "Summer Bummer" goes into rougher territory, and brings visions of amplifiers turned up to eleven and bursting into flames. The "cleanest" song among them is "Suicide Pact," which sounds like a Raveonettes-esque duet, and features lead guitars from a member of Surfer Blood.

Give a listen to the 6-track demo below, and download it at their bandcamp: