Review: Dead of Night, Dead of Night (Red Menace, 2018)

Dead of Night formed all the way back in 2004, but this self-titled two-song 7" is actually their first official release. With a lineup spread out across Florida, Massachusetts, and New York, the group's members are or have been involved with tons of other bands that I'm not terribly familiar with, such as Aggression Pact, Boston Strangler, Misled Media, No Sir I Won't, Prisoner Abuse, and quite a few more.

Opener "The Culling" sets the tone with a raw, Amebix-styled form of churning, metal-tinged crust punk complete with seething vocals alongside thick, midpaced rhythms and superb, roaming basslines that add a touch of melody.

"The Scourge" is slightly slower and more stripped down for its first half, placing emphasis on the vocal atmosphere and thunderous percussion before gradually picking up speed during its final minute for more of a driving, hardcore-influenced brand of traditional crust.

The production is rugged and muddy, but really adds to the overall aesthetic here. You could totally convince me that this is a much older recording, and while a touch jarring upon the first listen, the approach makes perfect sense once you settle into it. The mix is still balanced—as mentioned above, the bass presence is of utmost importance—and the overall vibe almost lends a certain air of mystery to the material.

The 7" is presented on black vinyl with blank black center labels and a xeroxed lyric insert inside of a simple black and white sleeve adorned with a cover image by German artist Otto Greiner circa 1900. The lyrical direction is one of aggressive apocalyptic imagery rather than direct socio-political commentary:

Bowed far too long, this night creeps deep. Listen for the call, it beckons to us all. Prepare yourself. Heed the holy keepers. This bloodletting leaves no sins forgiven. I've seen the night. Dreadful, harrowing fright. No war, only terror. The scythe blade cuts deep, into the night. Panic and pray. Darkness remains...

I definitely recognize that crust punk has largely slipped to the background of my listening spectrum over the years, but this is a quick and effective six-minute 7" that gets the job done. I also have to point out and give huge credit to the fact that they're selling this EP for a mere $5 postage paid in the U.S.!? Yep, you read that right. In this day and age, if that's not punk credibility, I don't know what is. I haven't mailordered a brand new 7" this inexpensively since the late-'90s! Much respect.

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