The Better Death's "Day of the Death"
Day of the Death is a brief (the six tracks total 20 minutes) but impactful communique, replete with the band's signature strengths: singer Sean Dailey's passionate, powerful projection, the pugnacious pummeling of drummer Handler and bassist Ricky Wolking, and guitarist Ed McMahon, who personally awards a giant prize of heavy rifferama and Tom Morello-esque noise on every track. (Ed brought an experimental edge to Reggie Rueffer's too-smart-for-their-own-good pop songs in the Hochimen, and has also jammed with shadowy jazz legend Ronald Shannon Jackson.)
The music has the feel of a sci-fi epic (think Styx or Rush), an impression that's not borne out by a perusal of the lyrics, which are redolent of decadence and ennui that might only exist in the narrator's imagination ("We'll make a smoke signal from incense and leaves / Lay your head down and fall asleep to my CDs"). The buzz track "E.G.G. (Everybody Get Gay)" is reliant on a usage that, in context, hits the same way as "retarded" (um, ain't no more "last acceptable prejudices" out here, last time I looked), although the line "'Cause it's hipster time and I'm so L.A." indicates ironic intent. No matter; Day of the Death succeeds on pure sonics, its only non-snazz element being its abbreviated length.
Here's hoping Handler continues on the mend and The Better Death are able to take it back to the stage soon.