With almost cartoonishly morbid artwork, Nearly Dead‘s debut LP greets the listener with the sonic equivalent of a sinister smirk. The urine yellow record contains twelve tracks of depraved noise rock paired with sleazy saxophone lines and vocals that border between threats and self-assured declarations. The sole note to the listener before facing this album is simply, “listen to Brainbombs.” While this is of course a worthwhile recommendation (and anybody who is familiar with Brainbombs will see the clear influence on Nearly Dead’s music), today it’s time to urge readers of Black Metal & Brews to listen to Nearly Dead.
It’s a sinister sensation that Nearly Dead imparts with each track. From the clear enunciation of the lyrics to the disgusting repetition of each riff, this is the sort of stuff that B-horror junkies can relate to on a musical level. It’s highly unlikely that Nearly Dead’s goal is to actually become a vegetable, covered in feces and high on painkillers, yet the theme is so convincingly sold that I do have my doubts. The initial stomp of “Hey Nurse” and its delirious claims of seeking immortality are counteracted with an eagerness to end it all on the equally drugged “Geriatric Epic,” which may be the album’s highlight. Still, somehow both of these songs (and indeed, the rest of the album) conjure up the true ugliness and confusion of convalescence and dementia in as direct and sincere fashion as someone who isn’t yet dead can muster. It’s rare that an album can straddle the line of campy creepiness and true unease, but Nearly Dead accomplishes it nicely here. The looming eventuality of death is both a release and a horror, and it’s nice to see music that faces it from almost every side without sacrificing a cohesive sound and lyrical narrative, all seemingly delivered with a smirk.
The album is available on urine yellow vinyl in an edition of 108 copies directly from the artist. If you’re ready to get uncomfortable and dark while celebrating the worst things in life, you’re ready to check out Nearly Dead’s eponymous debut. For the particularly morbid, a t-shirt with (what I believe is) a colostomy bag is also available. Crack open a cold one and try to forget the fact that if you’re lucky you’ll live long enough to be confused and drugged up in a hospital somewhere.