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Murder by Death - Red of Tooth and Claw Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 9
Production 8.75
Creativity 8.75
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 89%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.83
Musicianship 9.58
Lyrics 9.83
Production 9.5
Creativity 9.83
Lasting Value 9.67
Reviewer Tilt 9.42
Average: 97%
Inside AP.net
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.

Murder by Death - Red of Tooth and Claw

Reviewed by: Drew Beringer (03/03/08)
Murder By Death - Red of Tooth and Claw
Release Date: March 4, 2008
Record Label: Vagrant


“‘Red of Tooth and Claw’ is Homer’s Odyssey of revenge, only without the honorable character at the center.”

If Adam Turla’s quick synopsis of his band Murder By Death’s fourth studio album doesn’t get you psyched, then maybe the thick harmonies, haunting melodies, and dark vocals will. Yes, MBD is back on a new label (scene powerhouse Vagrant) and the Bloomington, Indiana quartet is poised to make Red of Tooth and Claw your new favorite album.

Produced by Grammy-winning Trina Shoemaker, Red of Tooth and Claw features eleven tracks that’ll encompass your ears, taking you on a journey through rich instrumentation and beautiful compositions, always leaving you satisfied. Turla’s vocals reach new depths throughout, as he comes across as a hybrid of Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and even a little Jim Morrison. Such versatility shows from the get-go, as Turla takes the opening track, “Comin’ Home,” by the throat and never let’s go. Sarah Balliet’s cello has never sounded as hauntingly beautiful as it does throughout this track and the entire album. “Rum Brave” is a go-getter from the start, as Turla riffs with a purpose and the rhythm of Dagan Thogerson and Matt Armstrong serve as the backbone to this fiery track.

One of the first singles, “Fuego!,” features a chorus that just takes off, with Turla yearning for lost love. "Theme (for Ennio Morricone)" is an exquisite instrumental that'll take your breath away, while “Steal Away” is excellently paced by Balliet, whose cello sets the tone of the menacing track. “Ash” is a powerful tune, as Turla and Thogerson really flex their muscles on the guitar and drums, respectively. “’52 Ford” is an extremely fun song, if you were ever to bust a move to a Murder By Death song, this would be the one.

There is always that one track that just sets itself apart from the rest, and for MBD, they saved the best for last with “Spring Break 1899.” Elegantly composed with honest lyrics and played with such earnestly makes the song one of the best released so far in this young 2008.

And, just like their previously three releases, the lyrics are fantastic. From rich storytelling to biting commentary, Turla does it all and in such an elaborate style. Of course there’ll be the usual handful of fans who are disappointed with Red of Tooth and Claw, but for those who get what Murder By Death is doing and can understand the logical steps the band is taking to create their best possible art will undoubtedly enjoy this release. Kudos for Vagrant for the signing, as one can hope Murder By Death’s wonderful music will be recognized and appreciated by many. One can only hope so, otherwise it’d be a damn shame for so many to miss out on one of the must-have records of 2008.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Comin’ Home
2. Ball & Chain
3. Rum Brave
4. Fuego!
5. Theme (for Ennio Morricone)
6. A Second Opinion
7. Steal Away
8. Ash
9. The Black Spot
10. ’52 Ford
11. Spring Break 1899
Produced by: Trina Shoemaker

Murder By Death are:
Adam Turla – lead vocals/guitar
Sarah Balliet – cello
Dagan Thogerson – drums/percussion
Matt Armstrong – bass

Buy it now:

Official Website; Official Myspace

 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 32
08:48 PM on 03/03/08
#2
TheBaroness
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good review. This is a sweet album and it sounds absolutely amazing. Whoever did the mixing/mastering did an excellent job IMO
10:00 PM on 03/03/08
#3
Thomas Balkcom
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Great review, even better album!
03:59 AM on 03/04/08
#4
Tom Good
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Good review. I think it's a fair initial score and it is probably what I would give it too. I think in time it maybe climb up a little higher. I found that with In Bocca Al Lupo, I didn't start to LOVE it until a few months with it. Great review though Drewb.

P.S. Rum Brave is beyond awesome.
04:29 AM on 03/04/08
#5
Praetor
as we melt, let's make no noise.
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I love this album so much. Theme is probably my favorite track.
06:18 AM on 03/04/08
#6
micahistheballs
AP's Resident Theology Student
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Good review. This album is great.
06:23 AM on 03/04/08
#7
InaGreendase
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Wish my copy of this album wasn't so bunked. The Cash and Waits influences were all over the last album. I can't really tell from any reviews if this is a progression upon In Bocca or not; I guess I'll eventually see.
08:04 AM on 03/04/08
#8
capnshindig
Guten Taaaag!
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I'm going to listen to this record tonight. The review has me pumped. Keep it up, Drew.
08:05 AM on 03/04/08
#9
AEast317
x x x
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great review, great album.
08:09 AM on 03/04/08
SteveLikesMusic
I'm A Man, Dammit
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Wish my copy of this album wasn't so bunked. The Cash and Waits influences were all over the last album. I can't really tell from any reviews if this is a progression upon In Bocca or not; I guess I'll eventually see.

Hah, what's wrong with it?
08:24 AM on 03/04/08
Punkdc
Some guy who enjoys stuff
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Great review. Couldn't agree more.
08:33 AM on 03/04/08
Ailite
one bright dusk
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Good review and great album. I agree completely, Spring Break 1899 is incredible.
09:12 AM on 03/04/08
Manbotisdead
speaking hot fire
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I've got my money on this record being my favorite this year, I'm about four tracks in and I'm fucking blown away by what I'm hearing.
09:46 AM on 03/04/08
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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I've got my money on this record being my favorite this year, I'm about four tracks in and I'm fucking blown away by what I'm hearing.
Just wait till you hear Spring Break 1899.
10:18 AM on 03/04/08
atticusfinch
Faith In More Than Steel
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Great review. This album is sick.
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