CD Review

Dead New Year – "The Hangman's 8"

By Marcus Pan

The Hangman's 8When I'm writing a new bass line for a Bitter Grace song, I have this tendency to go back to it days or weeks later and revise it – adding new fills here, slaps there, box crawls in that nook and slides in that cranny. It's hard to know when a song is "done," really. Last night I wrote two new lines for two new songs and already I've devised new things to add to the make-up. Earlier works have reached bass tab "Version 4.0." When is a song done?

To Dead New Year, consisting of Batgang Lugosi, Pabst Blue Ruin(1) and Rat Bastard (who is neither a rat nor a bastard, a topic open to consistent discussion), a song is "done" when they say so. While I'll keep revising, and will be working on, ten songs for the next ten years, Dead New Year will write it, play it and slam it down your throat because enough with the piddly widdle twisty parts let's just play some goddamn rock'n'roll. I should learn from this...but I probably won't.

Modeling themselves after 4/4 slammers like Maiden, Dead Boys, The Damned and New York Dolls, they are quick, consise and to the point. The Hangman's 8 is a basement produced 8 track CD and it's good enough for me and raw enough for the most heavy handed goth rock purist to enjoy, whether from the punk side or romantic side of the proverbial and musical tracks.

Open Eyes from the start is raw and filled with energy reminiscent of days gone by when Siouxsie first said hello and dark-clads were still stepping to a dead actor named Bella. There's tons of spit, but no polish – only heavy riffs and punk style vocals thrown against programmed beats and accenting keys. A new imaginative sexual style takes place in Grudgefuck. Undead is almost pure gothabilly while Empty Hand is a bass-laden punk 4/4 slam with crunchy guitars. The trio closes Hangman's 8 with a power ballad named, appropriately and spookily enough, In the End.

Where Dead New Year goes from here is far from clear. Mixing up gothabilly, punk, deathrock and old school goth their path is certainly not known yet. A little tightening here and there may be all that's needed. Will they be the next Pistols, Dolls or Bauhaus? It's hard to say – the energy, determination and skill is there. The Hangman's 8 certainly slices and dices all of the other overly produced shiny shit that's been hitting my desk in the wake of radio propagandists looking for the "next big thing" with the death of grunge and the quick flash in the pan of rapcore. Says me? It's not something new we need – it's something real. Dead New Year is a darker shade of real.

Contact Information:
Dead New Year
Post: 217 Roxeneath Rd., Richmond, VA, 23221, USA
(1) I have since learned PBR has bolted since I’ve written this.