Dead Tired’s unrelenting musical onslaught is best defined by way of contrasts and contradictions, existing in the ether between opposing forces and foiling ideas.
Look no further than the Hamilton-based hardcore outfit’s latest LP, Satan Will Follow You Home – a crushing 10-track collection that’s both beautifully orchestrated and cathartically chaotic. Its elevated production quality embraces ears like a warm hug, only to hit like a string of haymakers straight to the chest; infecting eardrums to heal souls and … you get the idea.
The record makes an impactful statement considering Dead Tired was born as a fun, informal project for guys with more formal ones on the go – from arena-touring rock bands to thriving recording studios, tattoo parlors, and other endeavors. Case in point, it’s their first release with a designated title, and offers a more cohesive and compelling take on the breakneck aural anarchy they’ve served up since uniting in 2014.
“I think we’re really stepping into our own sound with this one,” states guitarist Franz Stefanik. “When we first started, we didn’t really have any goals or ambitions other than playing music and having fun, but things are starting to feel more serious and everyone’s really excited about that. Our writing is evolving and we’re starting to wear our influences on our sleeves a bit more.”
Satan Will Follow You Home spans a more expansive sonic spectrum than anything we’ve heard from the quintet, comprised of Stefanik, fellow guitarist Marco Bressette, bassist Nick Ball, vocalist George Pettit, and new drummer Theo McKibbon.
That’s not to say they’ve strayed from the chaotic and combustible energy of their earlier work; instead, they’ve distilled it, made it exponentially more potent, and used it as an anchor to go off and explore increasingly ambitious styles and sounds. Atop a solid foundation inspired by early Converge and Cave-In, Kyuss, and Dead Kennedys, we get everything from sickly saxophone licks to stacked vocal harmonies.
Opener “Predatory Loans” offers an absolute pummeling of anger and aggression, tapping into the heightened social, economic, and political unrest engulfing a growing percentage of the globe. Tracks like “Breakfast of Participants” and “New World Pigs” are a perfect storm of pure and powerful punk rock while the title track wraps its intensity in swirling atmospherics for a slower, sludgier, but no less urgent experience.
“We really dove into the production on this one,” Stefanik explains, noting the freedom they had to experiment sonically while recording at their Hamilton HQ – dubbed the Deadquarters – with Bressette, a decorated engineer and producer, at the controls. “We spent more time going through different guitar, amp, and pedal set-ups and getting everything mic’ed properly than we did actually tracking, and I think it shows.”
Not only that, but it will pay off tenfold when the band gets back to bludgeoning fans with their blazing, hard-hitting live shows – something Stefanik says weighed heavily on their minds while recording thanks to the global pandemic that forced them into a temporary holding pattern. “That felt like such a big defeat,” he adds, “so making this album became our distraction and a great motivator to keep our creativity and our lives going.”
Needless to say, they’re keen for their return to any stage that’ll have them, from major international festivals to the crammed clubs that first confirmed they were onto something special back in 2014.
“It feels so good to have new material, a new lineup, and the excitement that comes with being able to play shows again,” Stefanik says in closing. “We’re stoked to have relit that spark to the point that, really, this feels like an entirely new band.”
A group of well-seasoned scene veterans dropping a career-defining record, reinvigorated with the vivacity of a new band? Yet another example of Dead Tired thriving in a place between opposites, adhering to no set agenda or rules outside of their own.