The slowly crawling, heavy riffs, the neurotic, psychedelic atmopshere, the confined sound, and the cohesive, yet varied structure of A/B, the debut offering rom Chicago heavy rockers DEAD SUN make for a particularly deranging experience. The album combines huge epic guitars with experimental elements and dark atmosphere laced with avant-garde tones and melancholic vibes, making A/B a truly intriguing listen. Today, we’re proud to give you its first full listen, along with the band’s special “Top 6.66 Pieces of Gear” list below.
A/B by DEAD SUN is out August 21st via Flesh and Bone Records.
Comments the band: “A/B was written and recorded collaboratively between us and our friends over the span of 2016-2019. We are fortunate to be able to rehearse inside of our guitarist/singer’s recording studio OHMSTEAD (Wall of Sound) so most songs were recorded basically as soon as they were written. Having this resource has been invaluable to the band. Writing it over a decently long span of time translated directly to how we’ve changed as a band and “found our sound” so to speak. Each song on the record is chronological to when it was written, so side B reflects more of what we sound like/who we are now as a band and as people.”
“Anyway, who cares. Gear is pretty sweet. There’s a ton of awesome gear at the studio. Gear is cool. We have friends that like gear. Sometimes they leave things and we use them and “sorry dude, haven’t seen it around.”
TOP 6.66 PIECES OF GEAR
1 – Dean Costello Amps
These amps are handmade down the hall from the studio. Dean plays in Disrotted, the loudest band in Chicago, Kleu, and a bunch of other rad bands from the past. Dean is such a good dude and a tube amp wizard with an exceptional ear for heavy sounds.
The HMW (Heavy Metal Warfare) is Bryan’s main amp and despite what its name suggests, it’s an extremely versatile amp capable of sparkly cleans as well as extreme distortion. We’d say that’s exactly what makes this amp so special on top of just how good it sounds. Playing out live Bryan would plug into the low input with the gain switch at low, crank the master and barely dial in the gain for a thick, low end heavy clean guitar tone with tons of power tube saturation, clarity, and a surprising amount of headroom still available for various gain stages. The amp really excels at crushing overdrive tones. It usually always beat any overdrive pedal we tried in its place. It sounds like a Soldano Avenger and a Sunn Model T reissue had a baby, but better. Bryan uses his HMW when we play live but it’s been used for both guitars and bass on some songs on the record. We’re not the only ones crazy about this amp. Bands like Primitive Man, High Priest, REZN, and Lume have used them on stage and/or in the studio.
2 – Emperor Cabs
Emperor cabs are somewhat cult and legendary in Chicago for their sound, fit/finish, and reliability. To us we hear a distinct sustain in our amplifiers low end response with our emperor cabs. Plus, they come standard with wooden rails on the bottom instead of casters, so they’re coupled to the floor and add to this kind of low frequency exaggeration from the vibrations. Also makes it so much easier to move. It’s like fancy furniture that makes you deaf. We love carrying these up and down stairs on tour.
3 – Sovtek Mig(s)
The first song on the record, “6 years” only used Sovtek amps for guitar bass tracks. Originally, this song was written and recorded in a few hours on one of our days off from work with no intention of it being used as a Dead Sun song. Sam and I just wanted to jam through 3 Sovtek amps all dimed at the same time. It was loud, a lot of fun and mostly looked really sweet. Later we adopted it and just kept the demo with the dimed amps. They’ve always been our backup heads on the road and have a nice bassman meets jcm800 thing going on.
Another wonderful Russian Sovtek product, the Tall Font Big Muff defines our fuzz sound on side B and newer material. These things rule. So much saturation and low end. They definitely impose an almost smiley face eq on the source, but their clipping and distortion sound makes up for their lack of mid frequency response, especially if you stack these pedals with another drive to fill in that sonic gap. We mostly used a Rat(Cat)King, Palisades, or Model Fet in conjunction with our Muffs on A/B. The only downside to this pedal is that it is not true bypass, a problem easily solved with a bypass looper. Dick owns a new-old-stock one that still has the battery cover. Pretty neat stuff.
5 – “The brown kit”
The brown kit was handmade in Chicago by some local drummer who built kits as a hobby. Who this person is, we do not know or remember. Nice guy though. Brown kit was collecting dust at his practice space apparently. This was our cheaper solution to wanting a C&C, cause those are cool, right? The kit has a pretty, dark brown stain, a 26” kick and a 7” deep snare, die-cast hoops, it’s like 5 or 6 ply maple and is super loud with a ton of sustain and resonance. I think every song on this record used some pieces of the brown kit. If you want your drummer to be heard in front of a big wall of amps, we totally recommend thin ply, maple, oversized drums that easily don’t fit that well in your van.
6 – Neotek console
Honestly, cannot believe these consoles are not worth an insane amount of money yet. They should be the Sunn of vintage consoles. On A/B, the close mics on the drums went through either a Neotek series 1 channel strip or 1E most of the time. Their quick transient response and super musical eq are perfect for snares, toms, and pretty much any source you throw at it. People say the preamps are transparent and clean, but they still definitely have a “sound.” They’re cheap, they sound amazing, made in Chicago, and Steve Albini uses them so we’re copying him.
.66 – Metal Zone
The little solo riff at the end of the song “A/B”? Metal Zone dad.
As someone who appreciates the depth of sound and psyche that shoegaze and slowcore invoke in me, I need the emotional release of music like this. It digs under my protective layers and strikes the motherlode of pain hiding deep inside me. / CvltNation
The album is recommended for fans of such bands as Planning For Burial, Lume, Cloakroom, True Widow, Nothing, and Palehorse/Palerider. / NoCleanSinging