Song of the Day (Shocktober): Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats “No Return”
Melding tuneful 60s melodies to 70s metal guitar grind, Cambridge, UK band Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats have charted the darkest of lo-fi paths for the better part of a decade, marking points at psych rock, biker rock, and proto-metal, wrapped in vintage grind house horror imagery. The band delivers another variation on that well-established but still-potent formula on their newly-released fifth album, Wasteland. Recorded at the legendary Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles and finished at bandleader Kevin A. Starrs‘ home studio, Wasteland still maintains their signature lo-fi effects-laden buzz. Of the eight lengthy album tracks, “No Return’ is an easy highlight.
Like Black Sabbath in their prime, “No Return” is the sound of the death throes of flower power on a particularly bad trip. Starrs delivers a strong melody in a Lennon-esque nasal whine that embodies terror and menace far better than any cartoonish bottom-register growl that passes for heavy metal vocals these days. And the band cranks out loping, crashing, punishing six-string riffs, creating a menacing atmosphere. “No Return” pummels along at a deliberate mid-tempo pace for over six minutes until the guitars stop and relief comes via decaying organ chords, white noise, backwards tape effects and barely decipherable overlapped spoken word BBC snippets. Like the audio verité over the closing credits of “Night of the Living Dead,” an uneasy falling action follows the peak of terror.
Knowing their vinyl bloodlust audience well, Wasteland was released in a spectacular array of hyper-limited vinyl formats (featuring end times design work by Buffalo, NY-based Julian Montague). Instantly selling out, the colored vinyl editions are already commanding high prices on the secondary market. Sabbath black is still available for the slightly lesser obsessed, though.
There’s just no return
Your mind is dead