Change is perspective. Genre is constrictive. DZ Deathrays are relentless. With high anticipation in the air after purposefully dropping two dynamically different singles – Northern Lights and Gina Works at Hearts – Shane Parsons and Simon Ridley have returned with their most structurally inventive product yet.
Black Rat begins with its title track and an instant sense of minimalism sweeps across the song. This trend continues through the 40-minute thrasher and presents a heftier swing toward complex guitar tones. With DZ’s debut Bloodstreams, every song was a guitar-slinging, cymbals-crashing head banger. Black Rat in contrast pans out more moderately as Shane’s guitar swirls over his vocals. Working with Producer Burke Reid has led to the record having a mature sound with Shane singing more than screaming. This results in far more melody on Black Rat, which can be evidenced on Nightwalking – a vacuumed track whose chorus would have never been possible on Bloodstreams.
The Brisbane duo have always blurred the margin between genres and interestingly they hold more genre trains than ever before with this second effort.
The “heavy-disco” inspired track Fixations could result in some decent remixes if handled by pros. The previously released Northern Lights, which saw DZ fans divided, now has a context to work within – much like Tonight Alright. Ocean Exploder and Reflective Skull bridge the smallest gap between album cycles and are the heaviest on Black Rat.
Perhaps the only downfall of the record are the lyrics which have always been a question mark in DZ Deathrays’ music. But the heavily transparent lyrics to the songs do provide a melodic structure for the groundbreaking guitar and drum work.
Black Rat shows DZ’s keen resolution to explore new frontiers.