November 16, 2018

By BRADLEY ZORGDRAGER

Long distance running is entirely different than sprinting. While the motions are similar, the different pace requires you to adjust your entire approach, but in the end you’re still winded.

To have a 10-song EP (extended play) last just 11.5 minutes, whereas an average 10-song album might last at least half-hour, presents a similar challenge; how do you walk the line between too many ideas and too few, while still packing a punch?

Dead in the Dirt manages to do just that on their newest EP, Fear. They come out of the gates flying; no acoustic intro, no symphonic build-up, just evil sounding chords that set the mood for the rest of the record.

Throughout the EP, the crushing tones and down-tempo riffs alternate with blast beats and fast parts, creating a dichotomy not for the faint of heart. Somehow these extremities accentuate the dynamics and make the fast parts seem even faster and the crushing parts, more crushing.

Burden of Life is a prime example of this clash, starting out with a drum fill and build up before a sludgy groove riff kicks in. It then alternates between fast blast beats and slow, slam riffs for the remainder of the 37-second song.

The eerie beginning of Sever the Tie has a clip from the 1981 movie, Prince of the City, laid over a heavy hardcore backdrop. The song then explodes, before ringing out into a cover of the Left for Dead song, Skin Graft.

Fear closes out with the title track, which showcases the flip-flop fast-slow style the band has done so well, before ending with arguably the most crushing riff on the whole release.

The only problem with short, fast albums like this is that the riffs move at lightning speed. While this keeps it fresh, sometimes a really interesting part, such as the one that starts at 1:22 in Bastards of the Bleak, gets bypassed too fast. Before you get a chance to fully get into the part, it’s gone.

Neither drummer Hank Pratt’s other band, Foundation, nor guitarist/vocalist Blake Connally’s former band, Me and Him Call It Us, could have hinted that such fury could come from them. To simply call this grindcore would be a disservice to the band’s powerviolence, black metal and d-beat influences.

If you’re not exhausted by the end of this whirlwind of extreme music, you didn’t listen loud enough.

This 7-inch EP is out now on Southern Lord Records and is the band’s first physical release, following the Tour EP and Vold EP.

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