Review Summary: Given time Gary Numans latest offering is much like the ocean; it will overcome you and sweep you away.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
A little after a minute into Dead Son Rising
you often find yourself checking the file name; this rather sinister sound can't be Gary Numan, the man famous for his beloved “Cars” hit in the 80's. And yet when the shock wears off the awe is still just as present as when you first heard Here in my car/ I feel safest of all/ I can lock all my doors...
and fell in love with the strange sound of the mans voice. This feeling soon turns into respect, especially if you've not heard anything else by Numan; Dead Son Rising
is worthy of your time.
While Numan is often compared to Trent Reznor I personally see more of Jon Crosby from VAST in his work than the man responsible for many industrial radio anthems. From the drone in the title track to the chant-like lines of “Big Noise Transmission” the feel pervading the album harkens back to Crosby's Visual Audio Sensory Theater
, a release widely held in high regard. Numan is no novice, and nothing on the album can be called straight fan service; this is purely one mans work. This becomes notable when the level of professionalism comes to light in the song writing or structure, Numans lyrical ability, and track flow.
Dead Son Rising
is an album that slithers, content to take its time. High energy moments are few and far between, but rather than drag on this actually works in the albums favor. Numan's voice is perfectly suited to this variation of slow unfaltering swells, “Fall For The Rest Of My Life” could have easily been construed as a whining love song but Numan's prowess and pacing turn it into something more, something darker and, dare I say, heartfelt. That adjective can be applied to most of Dead Son Rising
, which becomes interesting due to the many meanings the album can evoke in the audience. For some the slow piano and horns in “Not The Love We Dream Of” can be the saddest of soundscapes, for others it might recall a moment when they came to terms with a loss in their life.
Tracks such as “The Fall” and “When The Sky Bleeds, He Will Come” invariably are where Numan shines. Vocally both are filled with passion and upward swells, whereas the beats and synths are rather harsh and sharp by comparison. “The Fall” serves as the latter part of the albums catchier uptempo moment, and it's chorus of Do you fall like rain on the crying/ Cold and alone like the bitter and dying/ Do you fall like dust on a ruin/ Empty and dead like the life you are loosing
remains in the listeners head far after the tracks running time. “When The Sky Bleeds, He Will Come” however proves to be the darker answer to “Cars” in its sheer sing along sensibility. Starting off with an almost tribal click of the drums Numan lets the track slowly build as his vocals grow more impassioned. This audio swell seems to crest as the lines I/ I/ I needed something to live for/ is this the end we're deserving/ I/ I/ I need something to live for/ I'm on my knees and I'm begging
flow out of Numan's mouth, but the real crest is in the power of the moment following this. Just as the waves ebb and flow so does the song, and this only adds to it's power; for this reviewer it's near perfection.
Dead Son Rising
will not initially grab you, with it's tendency to be a mood specific listen and the quite down tempo sensibilities it portrays. Given time this album shows its true colors, one that will surprise almost any audience that hasn't been following Numan throughout his musical career. Heartfelt and utterly personal Dead Son Rising
resides in a realm of its own, and perhaps it's time you traveled there.