O'death is probably one of my favorite live bands in Brooklyn right now. Their off-the-wall stage presence combined with their punk ho-downs pack an anarchic, high-energy punch that hits you right square between the eyes and gives you the utmost desire to rock out as hard as you can. It's a show that you can see the whole crowd enjoying the performance just as much as the band is enjoying playing. O'death's latest album, Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin, completely encapsulates their amped up live energy with a batch of menacing hillbilly anthems pulled from the depths of hell. Basically, it's the perfect soundtrack for Deliverance. At some points the menacing quality is a little overwhelming to listen to one after another, but as a whole this is a pretty exciting listen.
"Low Tide" kicks off the album with the menacing muted plucks of a banjo which builds in to a full band explosion of acoustic guitars, searing fiddle playing and lyrics -- about drowning their loved ones -- that Johnny Cash could be proud of. It's the perfect introduction to the nuisance yet to ensue on this album. The next two songs pour on the sinister nature of the band ten fold with even more nefarious lyrics of the damned and disturbed. On "Legs To Sin" you find yourself singing along to a lustfully creepy chorus of "Lipstick I want you, Lipstick I want you!" over a squealing fiddle. Some of the best songs on this album occur when they tone down the ho-down and bring a more gothic country sound to the mix. "Mountain Shift" is a slow building song that starts off sounding like a polka tune, which you could easily square dance to with a nice fiddle, a danceable bass line and pretty banjo strums. The song slowly builds towards a chorus of raspy "La La La's" followed by a punk-a-billy build up with edgy banjo strums and a full band "La La La's" sing-a-long. O'death's prettiest song -- although it still deals with a corpse -- is "Angeline", which is a solid old-time country song, which has the fiddle being played in a more traditional manner adding sweetness to the sentimental narration of lyrics about Angeline's burial. It was a nice surprise of a song at the end of the album.
Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin is an album that is impossible to sit still to. As I write this review I am tapping my foot and nodding my head to the songs. It is jam packed with punk energy that is impossible to ignore. I will admit that listening to the album straight through is a little hard. The shrill fiddle playing and raspy voice of the lead singer does wear you down a little bit, but I am pretty sure they weren't making this album for people to appreciate alone on their ipod or play in the background at a dinner party. These are songs that were made to make people rock out in concert to. To dance so much that they are drenched in sweat by the end, and for that reason I feel this is an exceptional album of songs that will most definitely get their audience moving.