When you hear the term “weird,” it’s very likely that you think of something out of the ordinary, something that you haven’t seen or heard before or, if you have, it’s uncommon. However, when it comes to music… how can you really determine what can be classified with this tag? Is it something that sounds off to your ears? Is it a bizarre mixture of genres, perhaps? How about a crazy image that doesn’t really fit the music? All of these can be used to describe something weird, in the musical sense. For me, though, it has to go above and beyond that. To be classified as weird, the music must be bizarre, it must be original and it must clash in a way that could only be described as an “acquired” taste. Long Beach’s Sunflower Dead definitely have these down to an art. When they chose the album title, It’s Time to Get Weird, they knew that it couldn’t be taken lightly. The music had to live up to the title and also, show that it still has a serious angle to it. Luckily, for them… they nailed it! The album was produced by Dave Fortman (Evanescence, Godsmack, Slipknot) and Mikey Doling (Gemini Syndrome) and features a special guest performance from the one-and-only Jonathan Davis of KoRn on the title track.
The band consists of 3/5 ex-members of DROID and Two Hit Creeper, while the other 2 musicians have toured internationally with Buckethead, In This Moment and Memento. Their sound takes the best parts of hard rock and nu-metal, adds in a slight industrial tinge, sticks that shit in a blender and puree’s it to perfection. 30 seconds of this stuff will put more hair on your knuckles than a fifth of whiskey, so it’s not for the faint of heart! If you’ve gotten this far in the review, you may already be listening to the intro track, “Inhuman Lung” and thinking that I was lying. However, as soon as it ends, you’ll get a sense of what I’m talking about with “Dance with Death.” Opening with a riff from lead guitarist Jaboo, you’ll hear the menacing, luring whisper of vocalist Michael Del Pizzo before the song kicks into full force. While this track, alone, doesn’t have a lot of power behind it… it does a wonderful job of setting the overall tone for the album.
As you’ll quickly learn, this album features a lot of dark themes. Songs of death, the occult and beyond plague this album but it fits the music perfectly. The title track, featuring KoRn animal Jonathan Davis, is a track about letting your freak flag fly. No matter what, if you’re weird… embrace it and live your life the way you see fit. In the video for the song (seen below) we see Davis using a different take on the theme behind the song. He chops his enemies to pieces and feeds them to the birds, then buries what remained of them. However, something goes horribly wrong and lightning resurrects them, forcing him to fight for his life before ultimately succumbing to the same fate that he dealt to them. It quickly shows just how odd this band can be. The song itself has a moderate pace, is very KoRn-like (which explains why Davis’ vocals fit so well into it) and is probably one of my favorites on the album.
Of course, it isn’t all about rocking out and banging your head… the band shows they have a softer side, as well. On tracks like “Nothing” and “My Mother Mortis,” we get a little more personal. “Nothing,” for example, shows us behind the scenes of a broken individual, who finally realizes that what they gave to their counterpart, ultimately amounted to nothing. No matter how hard they tried, it was never enough and now they’re left alone and sullen. “My Mother Mortis,” however, while having a heavier edge to it… relates to the idea of death surrounding you. Whether it be in your dreams, in your thoughts or in your every day life…. death surrounds you and calls to you but you refuse to let her take you. I felt a lot of Disturbed influence in this track, too… Del Pizzo even sort of sounds like David Draiman in a lot of it.
Overall, It’s Time to Get Weird, has a lot more to offer than meets the eye and, like Lays, once you have one listen…. you won’t be able to stop. I will advise that it’s an album that is designed to be listened from front to back, though, not as individual songs so… bear that in mind when you listen. Whatever you do, though, be sure to pick up your copy of It’s Time to Get Weird, out now on Bloody Bat Records!
“It’s Time to Get Weird (ft. Jonathan Davis)” (Official Music Video)
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Sunflower Dead is:
Michael Del Pizzo – Vocals, Accordion, Piano
Jaboo – Lead Guitar
Jamie Teissere – Rhythm Guitar
Leighton “Lats” Kearns – Bass
Jimmy Schultz – Drums