Saturday 15 October 2022

DEAD - The Laughing Shadow (Album Review)

Date Released: October 14th 2022. Record Label: WeEmptyRooms, Wantage USA (Vinyl Only), Forbidden Place Records (CD Only). Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Laughing Shadow: Tracklisting

1.The Cowboy (free) 06:33

2.Riding Shadows 03:58

3.Death 06:20

4.Light, Flicker, Dark 03:14

5.Disgraced Former Detective/Silence 04:56

6.The Cracking Facade 06:09

7.Bastard Return 01:51

8.The Laughing Shadow 05:23


Jace: Bass & Guitars

Jem: Drums & Metal Percussion

Jenny Divers: Sax


Experimental Noise/Sludge/Stoner Rockers DEAD return with The Laughing Shadow which they claim is their “LOCKDOWN” album. DEAD have been quite a prolific band over the last decade or so with a multitude of albums, EP’s and singles released to their name. I believe this is their 13th full length album but I could be wrong on that. 

DEAD play a more Punk based style of Noise Rock, Sludge Metal and Stoner Metal. This album is perhaps their most experimental with the band going for a more abstract and gloomier sound. Well it’s more gloomier compared to We Grit Our Teeth, Up Yours and Raving Drooling. Raving Drooling is my favourite album from DEAD but The Laughing Shadow comes a close second.

This album is packed full of wonderful noises, sounds and extended grungy sounds with epic amounts of distortion which you can hear in the outstanding opening song The Cowboy. A mixture of sludgy and offbeat psychedelic tones with a dark melodic style of Stoner Metal especially when the Sax appears and a subtle Post-Whatever style ends the song rather convincingly.

Second song Riding Shadows is more of the same but with a Melvins feel to it. The song is quite gloomy, cold and distant but the first rate instrumental work from DEAD merges the Noise Rock environment with a more cerebral style of Gloomy Atmospherics. There’s a lot to unpack with this song as DEAD have written different levels of music with all telling a different story and various styles of distorted heaviness as well. 

Third song Death offers a sombre DRONE based perspective with the Noise Rock and Sludge Metal elements slowly being added with a dark DISTORTED and DOWN-TUNED feeling to it all. The song is quite slow and has a STOP-START delivery which allows DEAD to experiment with different sounds yet again but still sound refreshingly familiar for longtime fans of the band. One of the most challenging and boldest tracks on the album. 

DEAD move onto darker areas of music on tracks such as: Disgraced Former Detective/Silence, The Cracking Facade and The Laughing Shadow. The music remains dark and it’s still hard to decipher or understand the overall creative style that DEAD are trying to achieve with this album. Though, it works brilliantly well and allows the band to create a wickedly progressive record that only DEAD could release.

This album isn’t going to be for everyone but if you invest your time with the record, you’ll be rewarded with a unique take on the standard Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal sound. 

Overall, The Laughing Shadow is up there with DEAD’s best work and I can't wait to see what they release next.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to James at Cave Dweller Productions for the promo.

WeEmptyRooms, Wantage USA (Vinyl Only), Forbidden Place Records (CD Only)

DEAD Relevant Links


Forbidden Place Records Links:


Wantage USA Links: