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Red of Tooth and Claw

Murder By Death

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Album Review

Murder by Death address a number of themes on Red of Tooth and Claw, none of them particularly uplifting — consuming passion, dark romance, longing, revenge, death, and destruction. It may sound at first like the makings of a mediocre goth album, but the band's combination of a taut, tense, elegant delivery and poetic lyrics breathes life into each of Red of Tooth and Claw's songs. Like 16 Horsepower, Murder by Death explore a darker side of country-rock, and there are two important influences in evidence here — vocalist Adam Turla owes much of his sound to Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, but doesn't cross the line into mimicry. Instead, he leads the rest of the band in creating a mood and atmosphere that could be described as "country gothic," a sound whose dark romanticism and rustic overtones manage to be both bleak and warm. It's not unfamiliar territory for the band, which first began experimenting with it on In Bocca al Lupo. Red of Tooth and Claw carries over some of the Old West outlaw feel of its predecessor, but it's more aggressive and freewheeling here. Murder by Death are steadier on this album, and consequently more willing (or perhaps more able) to expand their sound. Cellist Sarah Balliet continues to be the most dynamic element of the band, though Turla is a very close second. His baritone meshes nicely with each of the songs as he infuses the lyrics with weariness — at the beginning of the album, he growls grimly through "I'm Comin' Home"; in "Fuego!," he switches from a smooth croon to an impassioned wail with ease. Turla is not even above dark humor, as displayed in his deadpan delivery of the first half of "Spring Break 1899." Red of Tooth and Claw isn't a departure for Murder by Death, but their ability to keep their sound fresh and vibrant speaks well of their musical abilities.

Customer Reviews

Sell Out??????

How can a band sell out when they decide to do concept albums about life in 1899? Do you think that there is a big market for this type of music? Everyone wants to hear a 4/4 808 rattling their trunks and some idiot talking about how big his jewlery and car rims are. I would prefer to hear something with a little more substance. Everything this band has done is crafted with 100% heart and love for music. You cant ask for more these days.

A wonderful step in MBD's progress.

I, for one, do not expect my bands to sound the same for all eternity. Murder by Death is progressing beautifully. They have often said they wanted to do a story for a whole album, and I think they have accomplished it very well. The album flows wonderfully. Also, it is true that Adam's voice is notably lower. But if anyone did their research, they would learn that he has actually been seeing a vocal coach who told him he was singing too high. His voice is reminiscent of Johnny Cash, but it's not ridiculous and over done. And the best thing? MDB is still absolutely wonderful to watch in concert. I don't think they can ever be stripped of their pure energy and presence. This is a must have album, because I am sure MBD's career is going to continue to evolve, and you don't want to miss a single step.

This album is amazing

i found this band by accident about 5 years ago and they quickly became one of my favorites. They are one of the VERY few bands to put out an album thats better than the last. And this album is no exception....its a must own...


Formed: 2001 in Bloomington, IN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Indiana-based Murder by Death first caught the attention of Thursday's Geoff Rickly while playing a gig together one night in their hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. Rickly promptly brought the band, then called Little Joe Gould, to the attention of his friend Alex Saavedra (Eyeball Records owner), and the group was signed immediately. The band was comprised of vocalist/guitarist Adam Turla, drummer Alex Schrodt, bassist Matt Armstrong, cellist Sarah Balliet, and pianist Vincent Edwards. They issued...
Full Bio
Red of Tooth and Claw, Murder By Death
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Customer Ratings



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