Artist: Dead Nerves
Album: Buried In Dirt – EP
There are a lot of ways I could have started this article. I could have done the usual framing mechanism—a dark, ominous couple sentences to set the tone for what’s sure to be an intense and brooding release. It would be safe, easy—but ultimately fruitless as few things can capture the dismal atmos Dead Nerves so proudly boast. I could have been biographical—but Dead Nerves are such a young act that a “biography” would have probably been shorter than this little speal here.
But chances are, you skipped this, and you went right to the rating and “FFO” at the bottom—which is fine, I guess—but that comes with the following warning, and the real point behind Buried in Dirt: Dead Nerves don’t operate on a conventional x/10 scale.
Where many artists favor balance, light to cancel out their darker segments, Dead Nerves simply don’t give a shit—yeah, blunt, crude, but true, and when you hear Buried In Dirt, you’ll get it. Instead, the /10 that Dead Nerves exist on is one of heaviness and raw, savage brutality. So when you skip to the end (if you haven’t) and see the rating, expecting some magnificent, epic, enthralling, melodic-turned-tech-turned-prog-turned-heavy-turned deathcore adventure upon checking the act out, here’s my retort: I told you so. Dead Nerves aren’t simply one of the heaviest new bands to come out of the last 12 months, they’re one of the heaviest bands period, managing to capture primal, grisly, beautiful emotion in that explosive eruption of barbaric, bone-busting brutality that comprises the half-an-hour onslaught that is Buried in Dirt.
Buried in Dirt is pure musical depravity. Every song is an example of the most gargantuan, grisly and outright oppressive heavy music since Traitors’ debut effort or Black Tongue’s Falsifier—and that’s a fact. Hailing from the frost-bitten, God-forsaken corner of western Michigan, Dead Nerves take deathcore, downtempo and groove, mix it up in a pot, sprinkle it with pure misanthropy—bake it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees—and then use it to beat the literal shit out of the listener. Percussionist Michael Geluso leads the charge, as it were, and while he may not be a fast, technical or flashy drummer, he certainly gets the job done. Songs like “GOD” see him alternating between a low, lurid groove and a sludgy, dissonant series of devastating breakdowns fluidly—while “Scandalous” is a more balanced example of his skills, seeing quicker footwork and faster hands than much of Buried in Dirt otherwise calls for. Meanwhile, bassist Chris Cole is right there with him, adding (even more) punch and heft to Geluso’s kick drum and boldly contrasting his sharp, snappy snare on every track. “ObamaNation” is a groovier example of this dynamic—with Cole and Geluso working diligently as guitarist Justin Olson brings slab after slab of meaty, bloody, misanthropic fretwork to the forefront of the listener’s attention. Olson—and you might have discerned this—doesn’t waste time with frill-laden, technically-immaculate playing; instead, you’re more likely to find him pummeling his fretboard with whatever he can get his hands on to make some of the other-worldly and Hellish sounds he brings to the table on songs like “God” or “Brain Bleed.” The point is that the trio work excellently together—Olson rounding out the awesome foundation poured by Geluso and Cole—to create the heaviest display of downtempo depravity heard in years (if not ever).
Dead Nerves redefine belligerence with their instrumentation—that much is certainly true—but it isn’t the only way in which the group are totally oppressive. Frontman Tyler Rosema—aided by drummer Geluso—is a force not simply to be reckoned, but feared. Compounding visceral, skin-scalding hatred into emotional intensity without losing a raunchy, bordering-on-putrid low growl, Rosema is ruthless, and that’s all there really is to it. “Scandalous” is one example of his excellence, blending lyrical immolation with creative patterning and a series of low bellows that would make Satan shit himself. Likewise, “Fallon” sees Rosema working alongside another Detroit juggernaut—Colton Head of Forces—to shred every strand of sanity the listener might have left, and that doesn’t even bring hits like “GOD” or “ObamaNation” into play. Rosema’s voice is the very essence of blood-curdling, fear-inducing, bleak and grim despair, adding enough energy and pep into it to make sure it flows and stays catchy, all while remaining burdensome and brutalizing in the best way possible. Rosema plays to the over-the-top nature of Dead Nerves’ instrumental approach like a hand into a perfectly sized glove, forming a fist poised to beat the living Hell out of the listener without remorse.
There isn’t much else to say about Buried in Dirt besides the point that it’s almost lethally aggressive. Taking the sum total of hatred the entire state of Michigan has to offer (which is a lot, trust me) and combining it into a twenty-something minute release, Dead Nerves live up to their namesake and the greater implication of their name—because after the listener gets done with their debut, their cochlear nerves will almost certainly be dead.
For Fans Of: Traitors, Bodysnatcher, Oceano, Genocide District, REX, Feign
By: Connor Welsh