Athens, Ga., upstarts deconstruct Nirvana for the 21st century
An event sure to make any alumnus of the flannel revolution of ’91 feel a little old, Nirvana has undeniably passed into the classic-rock lexicon. But where they were once aped by a generation of bands that sprung up overnight with screechy-voiced frontmen and fuzz pedals, now their music is being strip-mined and reconfigured with other classic-rock references, leaving Dead Confederate in a position to create a viscerally imagined (if obviously indebted) hybrid on its full-length debut. As the band’s name implies, there’s a bit of doom-metal desperation and dark Southern psychedelia in Dead Confederate’s musical DNA, and the specter of Kurt Cobain is never far away, with vocalist Hardy Morris’ voice cracking and wounded as it struggles to pierce the imposing walls of guitar distortion and crashing cymbals. But, despite all the influences blowing through the ether, the resulting songs lack the dynamic range of their most obvious inspirations, each charting a familiar trajectory through a slow build and release of cacophonous guitars and caterwauling vocals that gets old around the five-minute mark.