Casket Architects - Dance on the Death Nerve (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Casket Architects

Dance on the Death Nerve (2005)


Holy moly. I honestly can't remember the last time so much fury was packed into so small a time constraint. Somehow, some way, Casket Architects are able to pull this off in flawless style. That savvy allows them to pack twelve songs into just 18 minutes, and combine the various directions taken from such influences as Refused and the Misfits into a powder keg that does not stop exploding.

At the helm of this rogue vessel is the manic Mike Shaw, and doing more than just tagging along for the ride are bassist Evan, and drummer Annie Terror. Shaw handles guitar duties as well, in exemplary fashion at that. Be it the furious dissonance of "Observer," the runaway rhythms of "Deftwich," or the blistering solos in "Turbine Vaccine," Shaw is in total command at every twist and turn, ensuring his bandmates are right along there with him to create the best sound possible.

An aggressive punk band at the core, it's the various other elements that the band is able to implement into their music that makes those 18 minutes so damn special, and so damn unique. They're not different for the sake of being different, as is the downfall in many of their ilk, but the metal and hardcore tangents that weave their way into some of these songs do nothing if not bolster and intensify an already frenzied musical front.

It comes back to Shaw each and every time. It's his strong guitar playing and even stronger vocals that give each song an identity all to itself. Compared to some of the other eleven songs on the record, "Solar Surgeon" offers a bit more reserved side of Shaw, but conversely, his guitar playing really picks up in that absence, going from a simple three-chord progression to some ear-shredding solos right before the chorus is able to bouncingly kick in. Just as well as he's able to cater to that style, in a moment's notice, he can transition to a biting scream as displayed in "Organ Donor." No matter the style, it fits fluidly with the music and continues the path the album had been headed on previously without so much as a hitch.

Casket Architects have proven you don't need a lot of time, you don't need a lot of unnecessary wankery, and you don't need a lot of studio polish to make an amazing record. Packing 50 pounds worth of stuff in a 10 pound box has never looked this easy.