DEADBIRD Soars on III: The Forest Within the Tree, Their First Album in Ten Years
With a somber guitar chord, Deadbird reemerges after roughly 10 years of silence. "It's taken some time to come out the other side," guitarist and vocalist Chuck Schaaf croons during "The Singularity," the opening track to III: The Forest Within the Tree. Deadbird has seemingly been dead and gone for quite some time. However, like the Phoenix itself, they've risen from self-imposed ashes. Now a band filled with fathers and husbands wise beyond their years, it has indeed taken some time, but they've come out the other side—a more powerful band then they were a decade ago.
The Fayetteville, Arkansas doom group is pivotal for their home state's metal. The group shares members with Rwake and finds friendship in current and former Arkansas residents Pallbearer and Spirit Adrift. They have their hands in a number of other musical projects in various metal genres like Deadeyejack and Ash of Cedars. They've stayed busy in their absence, and it's part of what makes their return so fantastic.
Deadbird's newest jewel of Southern gloom is deeply enthralling from start to finish. Across eight gut-wrenching tracks, their doomed and sludge-laden tones balance a dichotomy of hope and despair. Tracks like "Luciferous Heart" capture a southern rock groove within its opening moments while "Bone & Ash" plays to a sludgy and almost punk/d-beat rhythm at times. The thunderous "Alexandria" is one of the album's shortest, yet most furious tracks. The gang vocal chorus into the soaring guitar solo is enough to make the hairs of your arm stand on end. A personal favorite track, "Brought Low" takes some of this same fury but gives it a longer runtime and more metered doom riffing and tropes.
There are various moments throughout III that really push the sonic boundaries of Deadbird's music, but overall, it's an incredibly polished record. Every song flows wonderfully into the next. There isn't a moment that leaves you wanting more. It's a complete and well-written chapter in the Arkansas natives' book and arguably the best one yet.
Now with venerable underground tastemaker, 20 Buck Spin—a very fitting home for the southern troupe—the band is loving their alliance with the label. "Being on 20 Buck Spin has truly been a singular, incredible experience," Chuck Schaaf says. "I know every band says this and I would imagine that 99% really mean it too, but we are way beyond stoked for this thing to see the light of day. I've come to know Dave Adelson (founder of 20 Buck Spin) as one of the most solid, honest, hardworking, and passionate brothers I've ever met. From the get-go, it was truly like talking to a brother—to a friend. Exchanging stories of fatherhood and talking about shows we've seen and bands we both love. That dude is phenomenal and his label is phenomenal and we are so grateful to get a chance to be a part of it."
Chuck continues on to thank those who helped bring this album to life, "This record was long in the making and was by no means easy to get to the finish line. As I mentioned before, everyone who has helped us out with this thing: Alan Burcham (AB Recording), Brad Boatright (Audiosiege), John Santos, Dave Adelson, Dave Brenner, Nate Garrett and our brothers in Pallbearer among many others have helped elevate this record to a place that I never dreamed it could go. We are proud of these songs and we put all of our heart into this thing and we hope that it connects with some of you out there."
"We've been working on this record intermittently for the last decade," Chuck's brother and Deadbird drummer, Phillip adds. "There were some long periods of time where it was difficult to get together in one room, but we never really stopped playing together. Chuck and Alan started writing songs on their own; we would get together and start fleshing them out. This is the longest amount of time we have had between writing and recording so we really had time to let the songs grow into what they are now."
Phillip goes on to add, "We decided that it was best to take our time with this one and make sure that every aspect of the album felt right. We always wanted to track at Ardent in Memphis, and Alan Burcham was doing some of the best heavy recordings in the area so that made the most sense. Once the record was nearing the finish, we sent it to a few friends. Nate from Spirit Adrift sent it to Dave at 20 Buck Spin. He's put out some of my favorite records in the last few years, and he's just an awesome guy overall."
"We had been talking about the artwork since tracking began, which was four years ago! Santos was always the first choice; working with him was really amazing. He was even researching bees and wasps that are native to Arkansas. He just dove into the project full on and it shows in his beautiful cover art. I didn't realize when I tracked the drums in 2014 that we would take so long to see this thing through but I think patience has paid off in a big way, and this is the best record we have made yet. I am glad we can finally share it with everyone now."
Listen to an exclusive stream the colossal III: Forest Within the Tree now. Pick up a copy of the album from 20 Buck Spin and follow Deadbird on Facebook. The band is also playing two record release shows soon. Dates are below.
Deadbird Record Release Shows:
10/12/2018 White Water Tavern – Little Rock, AR w/ Terminal Nation, Tranquilo.
10/13/2018 Backspace – Fayetteville, AR w/ Bones Of The Earth, Groaners