O’Death – Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin

by Woody on November 6, 2008

Have you ever found yourself in a speeding car on the cusp of careening out of control? That’s how I feel every time I listen to O’Death’s 2007 release, Head Home. I feel like I’m about to slam into a concrete barrier. It’s going to be very loud, a little painful and very bloody. I love every single minute of the manic hysteria that O’Death throws at me and their just released Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin has been one of my most anticipated releases of the year.

I had been wondering, would O’Death keep up the frantic style or would they refine the sound? Bands always want to grow, but I was desperate in hoping that their death-bluegrass sound would remain in tact. After five full listens in two days, I feel that the boys have found the perfect middle ground.

Broken Hymns, Lambs and Skin, while having moments of chaos, also displays improved production and tighter playing. It’s the fiddle-led jams that grabbed my attention, but the moments of restraint show the band’s maturity. Tunes like “Fire On Peshtigo,” in which Greg Jamie sounds a tad like Les Claypool in his delivery, and “Angeline,” a slow building tunr, are both nice examples of the band moving forward without losing their trademark style. Not to mention “Grey Sun” where Jamie dials it down a bit in delivering the chorus, “Hang the hardship slowly.”

While O’Death have tightened things up, there are still plenty of trademark jams to go around. “Low Tide” is vintage O’Death and Jamie delivers one of his best performances on “Vacant Moan.” The song bounces between slow banjo picking and fiddle freakouts, switching at a moment’s notice. It’s a brilliant tune. I can’t wait to catch them live at The Bottle this Saturday.

I described them this way recently: Imagine listening to The Foggy Bottom Boys lit on fire after drinking half a bottle of grain alcohol. Is it for everybody? No, but it sure is for this guy. They will be playing two shows in Chicago this weekend – Saturday at The Empty Bottle and Sunday at the Hideout.

O’Death – Lowtide

O’Death “Lowtide” Video


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

oz November 6, 2008 at 9:19 am

I listened to the album for the first time when I was home alone on Halloween. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.

That video is disturbing.

DBT Chicago November 6, 2008 at 12:21 pm

they shake your soul. i’ll be at the empty bottle saturday night. who’s coming with me?

Woody November 6, 2008 at 1:10 pm

This guy!

DBT Chicago November 6, 2008 at 1:43 pm

sweet. want to meet up prior to o’death going on and chat? i’ll be at bar around 9:30/10. shoot me an email at matthewharness@yahoo.com.

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