DZ Deathrays – Black Rat

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Reviewed by John Kerrens

DZ Deathrays are a pop rock/thrash metal duo from Brisbane, Queensland. Recently, they released their newest album; ‘Black Rat’, it’s an album that has arrived with considerable hype and great expectations, and has it lived up to them? You betcha!

The Deathrays appear to have channelled, or been overtly influenced by, a number of kindred spirits, they’ve absorbed these influences and made-them-over to create a full-blooded sound of their own. Recorded in various studios around Australia and New York, ‘Black Rat’ features meat cleaver guitar, bellowed vocals and brain-pummelling percussion. After their monstrous debut album ‘Bloodstreams,’ this second effort sees the Deathrays refining and consolidating their own sound.

The opening track, on first listen, sounds rather eccentric; with its stop-go rhythm, howled vocals and the Fuzzbox cranked up to ‘11’, it’s a fine opener and leaves the listener in no uncertainty about what’s to follow.

The track ‘Gina Works at Hearts’ initially sounds Ramones-influenced, from the title onwards, and is as catchy as you would expect it to be. ‘Reflective Skull’ is skull-stompingly good, while ‘Keep Myself on Edge’ has a catchy chorus underpinned by battering percussion and a dash of synth for additional colour. ‘Northern Lights’ (one of their best songs, in my opinion) has ringing guitars, rather melancholy vocals and a melodic chorus; very catchy without melting straight in to Pop, and finally ‘Ocean Exploder’ features all of the band’s strongest qualities: buzzsaw guitar, bellowed vocals and a drummer who is an obvious psychopath (syncopath?) on the drums (something confirmed by a fellow SKN contributor who has seen the band live).

‘Black Rat’ is one of the more interesting releases of recent times and has some great cover art too.

There’s nothing more to say folks, it’s a brain-buster!

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