The Midlands, and more specifically the West Midlands, takes a lot of stick. Often ignored by the south because it’s not far enough north and in turn ignored by the north because it’s not far enough south. It might surprise a few people but there’s a vast expanse of land, towns and cities between London and Manchester and that vast expanse of land has been turning out rock and metal bands, as well as you know… creating an entire genre, for nearly 50 years.
Rock and metal might be unfashionable elsewhere and Gene Simmons can proclaim that rock is dead every five minutes as much as he likes because over here it’s thriving. New bands pop up on almost a weekly basis and the enthusiasm for the music is greater than ever. So, with all of that in mind let me introduce to you, Dead Agents and their brand new self-titled EP.
The EP fires into life with the thundering lead single ‘I Belong’. This was the first song that I heard from the band and probably remains my favourite. It’s that track where the band really pull everything together and show the world what they’re about. The chorus is made to be sung drunk covered in other people’s beer in a dark sweaty rock club somewhere, while the guitar solo is the cherry on top of an already mighty fine cake.
A gloriously ominous riff signals the arrival of ‘Haters’ but that riff soon disappears, making way for a punchy opening verse and rolling drum beat. The chorus is another high energy affair, but I wasn’t knocked out of my chair as I was with the opener. I’m not all that sure as to why because I don’t dislike the song, it just feels like the boys were going through the motions a little bit. However, ‘Drowning’ sees the band fly into another gear entirely. There’s far more fire on display here as the quartet proceed to grab your attention and refuse to let it go until they decide that they’re done with you. I must again give a shout out to the guitar solo as once more, without being over-elaborate, it elevates the track just that little bit more.
On the whole I absolutely love ‘Be My God’, but I don’t get or particularly like the opening 30 seconds. I just don’t think it fits. It’s slow and sounds like it was recorded in an echo chamber, it jarred a bit too much with what went before and what follows. I don’t want to be overly negative because the rest of the song is frankly sensational. If it’s breakneck speed and a swirling cacophony of riffs that you want, then this is the song for you. It would be the best track on the record if it wasn’t for the intro.
Closing effort ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ unfortunately follows a similar path. The strings on the intro don’t really serve a purpose other than “wouldn’t it be cool to put strings in this one?” They are used better later, when they are complementing the track rather than being the sole focus of it. But at the risk of just repeating myself, that aside, this is another really solid track.
I’m worried that I’m going to come off as negative in this review and that wouldn’t be right, because there’s so much good stuff here. That being said, I also can’t ignore the records faults. ‘I Belong’ and ‘Drowning’ are both awesome slices of modern rock music, ‘Haters’ is a more than solid 7 out of 10 but the band don’t quite hook it all together on those final couple of tracks. They’re not write offs by any means, but they are hindered by those intros.
At it’s best ‘Dead Agents’ is fast paced, energetic, and a fantastic showcase of what this quartet are all about. The song writing is relatable and passionate, and the musicianship and production are also top class. There’s bucket loads of potential here and with a little bit of polish here and there you could be looking at a band ready to take the UK scene by storm.
EP track listing:
Be My Gog
Don’t Talk To Me
Dead Agents are:
David James Foster – Lead vocals/rhythm guitar
Adam Beddow – Lead guitar/backing vocals (Producer)
Adam Furmage – Bass/backing vocals
Geoff Fry – Drums
Find out more from Dead Agents at the following links: