October Bird of Death – “Assemble” (ep)


For those who grew up in the Midwest in the 80s and early 90s, Chicago punk rock was something special and October Bird of Death is back with the second ep full of music keeping the spirit of Chicago punk rock alive.

Having grown up near Chicago and being into punk rock, one couldn’t help but be a fan of bands like Naked Raygun who also count Dave Grohl as a big fan, to the point where Dave had them open for the Foo Fighters at a Wrigley Field show.  That mix of melody with hints of chaos characterized the sound of many of the bands.  For those looking for some history, check out the documentary You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984.  But, I digress…. October Bird of Death has only been around a couple years, having released the death made its offer (ep) in 2017, but don’t let that fool you as the band  members have experience in a variety of notable punk rock bands with some even doing double time in the youth crew band 2 Minute Minor, which is also worth checking out.  Guitarist Darren Davick was previously in Ballydowse, while other guitarist Sid Duffour was in the legendary Headnoise and singer Wiley Willis is in the Blamed and 2 Minute Minor with drummer Zach Bridier.  For Assemble, the band recorded at Million Yen Studios with Chris DeQuick, while Zach Bridier handled mixing, and notable punk rock figure Sef Idle took care of mastering at Simpul Studio.

In true punk rock fashion, the ep wastes no time with “Beckoning Beast” roaring to life through a fast guitar riff, the kind that at once sounds familiar and yet remains cool.  Kurt Lynett’s bass comes through briefly to accompany the riff before the rest of the band comes in and that is the first sign of how important the bass guitar will be on the album.  Once the full band takes over Zach Bridier and Kury Lynett provide an ominous rumble backdrop for the fast riffs with Zach’s drums really providing a good punch in the mix.  Overall the mixing and mastering is exceptional.  Lynett’s bass takes center stage later in the song with the guitars switching roles to provide support in a great bit of songcraft.  Wiley Willis’ vocals have that punk rock sneer to them and his variation in delivery shows great maturity and confidence.  I will say that I can appreciate his sometimes Jello Biafra-esque vocals more here than with 2 Minute Minor but honestly they work well in both scenarios.

“Vices” bounces along early and then settles in to a heavy melodic groove, setting a pattern that continues for the rest of the song.  Having both Sid and Darren on guitar allow the band to add a number of different elements to the overall sound.  Clocking in at 30 seconds, “Outlier” is a straightforward blast and in contrast, “Splintered Bones” starts out with a great bass line from Lynett joined by a driving drum line from Birdier setting the stage for the underlying theme of the song where the guitars chime in to provide some texture during the verse sections.  “Shadows Like Teeth” closes out the 13 minute long ep and adds in some variety in the vocals by bringing in other band members to contribute lines throughout the song. Part way through the song the music breaks down with Lynett and Bridier setting up a great rhythm for Davick and Duffour to work with and provide a fitting close to a great ep.

Written by John Jackson

Rating: 9/10

1. Beckoning Beast
2. Vices
3. Outlier
4. Splintered Bones
5. Shadows Like Teeth

Band Members
Sid Duffour: Guitar
Darren Davick: Guitar
Kurt Lynett: Bass
Zach Bridier: Drums
Wiley Murder Willis: Vocals

Release Date:  17 August 2018

Record Label: ZAP Records

Weblinks: BandcampFacebook

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