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Wake The Dead
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  • Returning to his Third Eye Foundation project after eight years, Matt Elliott (otherwise known for his downcast singer/songwriter material) paints another brilliant, devastating portrait of a life plagued by dread and fear. While just as eerie and haunting as anything else he's done, Wake the Dead initially feels a bit less claustrophobic, as the clattering, hyper-speed drum'n'bass breakbeats found on earlier releases are replaced by slow, creeping dub rhythms. It's far from a relaxing listen, however, as the voices and instruments are often twisted and distorted in Elliott's usual, highly unsettling manner. Aside from the heavy, clacking drums and swerving, gyrating bass tones, the tracks incorporate tense, mournful strings and horns, as well as nearly operatic vocals. The closest comparisons that come to mind are a more ramshackle version of Scorn, heavier on live instrumentation, and a less cheeky 1-Speed Bike (the solo project of Godspeed You! Black Emperor drummer Aidan Girt). While the album seems more controlled and a bit less dissonant than past works, there are plenty of moments when the tension rises to an overwhelming degree, and some of it is downright chaotic. The drums on "The Blasted Tower" are heavily scrambled and glitched-out, while the wailing vocals are manipulated to sound like ghostly shrieks, made even more disturbing by the rapid pitch-shifting near the end, when crunchy feedback bludgeons everything. "Controlled Demolition" has an entirely accurate title, as it contains the most scattered, aggressive drumming and abrasive distortion on the album, but it manages to float along peacefully with the help of some wistful strings. Wake the Dead seems like it might at least partially reference the long gap between the previous 3EF release, itself a decade removed from the project's prior full-length, but Elliott only seems to revive the moniker when necessary, and this is certainly a crucial addition to his discography. ~ Paul Simpson
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