Keep It On Wax: King Parrot – Dead Set
Calling all audiophiles! This one’s for you. The vinyl revival is well and truly upon us and now’s as good a time as any to raid your parents’ collection and dust off the turntable. Stay tuned for our verdicts on the latest and greatest pressings.
Gatefold 180gm Black Vinyl
Australia’s favourite thrash-grind larrikins and pub destroyers are back to pulverise your senses. Matt “Youngy” Young’s maniacal high-pitched squawks and filthy growls seem to truly bring his onstage intensity to life on this record, whether it’s in punk-metal crossover track “Like A Rat,” sludgy pit rager “Need No Saviour”, or the blast beat frenzy that is “Anthem Of The Advanced Sinner”. Those who have been raised on a more modern metal sound might find Dead Set’s starkly naturalistic production a surprise, but the rough and raw quality of the fuzzy guitars and live-feeling drums is also a big part of its appeal, thanks to the unique touch of Pantera legend Phil Anselmo in the producer’s chair. In layman’s terms: this is some old school metal shit. – Daniel Furnari – 4/5
WHAT DO YOU GET?
King Parrot’s music is gritty and grimy, so the grindhouse aesthetic that they’ve draped around the record is a match made in heaven. Like any good B-grade flick, the album artwork and lyric sheet are dripping with schlocky, second-rate horror tropes that strike the sweet spot between stupid and silly.
Oversaturated greens meet a predominately monochrome palette to convey a coarse, sickening tone, with stereotypical images of spider webs, creepy masks and dilapidated dwellings where nefarious types commit dirty deeds. It’s deliciously cheesy and intentionally forced, right down to the “R” rating that’s stamped on the cover beneath a set of shadowy figures wielding garden tools. But like any good band with a bit of humour in their hearts (their black, brutal metal hearts), Dead Set grows beyond the obvious piss-take thanks to quality presentation – not unlike the music really.
The lyric sheet however, which follows the same pseudo horrific design in the vein of a demented doctor scratching subjects on a wall, can be pretty hard to read. Vinyl releases often compress an entire CD booklet onto a double-sided 30×30 sheet, and while the art is still well defined in this case, the words have been pushed a little too far.
You can grab the wax portion in black, “thrash green” or as a picture disc with bonus A2 poster. We reviewed the black version.
HOW’S IT SOUND?
This isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for the supposed superiority of vinyl. You’ll have to turn the treble up high to work through a pervasive muffled sound that wraps itself around the mix. Even then, the bassy blanket is only subdued, and there’s an ever-present hollowness that throws the balance out of whack.
But King Parrot have the kind of rough edge that goes hand in hand with the coarser qualities of vinyl. These shortcomings would be cause for criticism on most other releases, yet here they’re a kind of complement to the rough-as-guts style and attitude. It’s like watching VHS footage or putting on a worn and torn leather jacket – you know there’s a better quality alternative, but the imperfections add a certain dirty appeal.
Yes! The folks at Zenith Records have included a 320kbps mp3 copy of Dead Set.
When people say vinyl sounds better, it’s always based on a subjective set of circumstances and this is a great example of the argument. Some will listen to it and hear nothing but a set of songs poorly mixed for a vinyl pressing. Others will see the flaws as a filthy cherry on top of a dirty, dirty mountain, and will probably spend hours arguing that it’s supposed to sound gritty. Dead Set doesn’t sound better on vinyl, it sounds different in a very appealing way.
Dead Set is out now through EVP Recordings.