Much like their Georgian brothers Baroness, the Southern rock outfit Dead Confederate knows how to harness the sound of its home state. The vocals of frontman Thomas Hardy Morris may be more akin to early ‘90s Seattle grunge, but the rest of his compatriots in the Dead Confederate name make music that evokes the dark, murky swamps of the American South and all the doom they entail. Tracks like opener “Slow Poisons” and “In the Marrow” are doomy plodders whose distorted guitars inject a lugubrious and at time ominous mood to In the Marrow, the band’s third studio recording, its first for the Spiderbomb label.
With In the Marrow, Dead Confederate sticks to a grimy sonic palette, though with several variations on its morose themes. The melancholy of the steel guitar-accented closer “Winter Waters” recalls Baroness’ calmer moments. Both “Best of the Worst” and “Dead Poetry” feature intriguing opening figures that at first suggest a new take on Southern Gothic. Where the group falls short, as evidenced by the boring mid-tempo rockers the latter two tracks become, is really wringing out the vitality out of this otherwise promising LP. Many of these cuts fall into rote, verse/chorus motions that slow down any momentum that’s built up by many of the jam-like qualities of Dead Confederate’s music. “Slow Poisons,” the LP’s best minutes by far, is where the band’s strongest elements—a fantastic control of the low end, a satisfying heft, and a nuanced incorporation of grunge and metal—are all at the forefront. All the various problems with it aside, In the Marrow is a record with more promise than disappointment, and for those who like their rock rootsy and doomy, this is one to spin.