Long before there was Jesu, or Godflesh, or Techno Animal, or even Napalm Death, there was Final, Justin Broadrick's first project that he started in the early 80's as a response to the burgeoning UK industrial movement. Since Broadrick has been immersed in his work with Jesu over the past few years, I haven't heard much new material from Final outside of the double disc that Neurot put out a few years ago, which is too bad; I've always been a fan of the grim isolationist ambience, corrosive guitar noise and formless drones that have always marked his solo recordings under the Final name.
Considering how sweetly melodic and poppy his shoegazer-industro-sludge anthems have been getting with Jesu, it's jarring to hear how abrasive and crushing the sound of Dead Air is - compared to the Neurot release, this is virtually harsh noise! The first track "Slow Air" especially...holy shit! A massive chunk of super-distorted bass riffage grinding beneath clouds of acidic feedback and slowly hovering high-end drones. Huge and overdriven and fucking menacing, this ultra heavy industrial sludge is like a Skullflower jam gone rotten, the roaring murky crush laced with looping melodies and machine-like throb. The next track "Cave" is streaked with oscilatting waves of digital chaos and ascending feedback that gradually turns into a roaring wall of glitchy noise and grinding white noise.
Then comes "Fearless Systems", another super heavy industrial dirge, but this time the heaviness is laced with sinister little bits of melody and fluttering electronic squelch, while a massive sludgy two-note riff breathes in and out. SOme haunting, heavily processed guitar melody and blown out cosmic synth begins to appear over the track, and once again I'm reminded of old Skullflower, albeit dunked in tar and damaged noise and thick syrupy Tangerine Dream. Really beautiful. The next track "Disordered" is much more abstract, with just a minimal dronescape of crackling noise and descending engine roar. From there the album continues to become more fractured and noisy, sometimes sculpting the low-end drones into huge factory grooves, or delving into grating Whitehouse-style distortion, fields of fragmented guitar, chaotic shoegazey blisscapes, crushing distorted guitar drone, grimey rust-covered kosmiche drift, or, as on "Inanimate Air" and "Smeared Air", infusing warbling analog electronic noise with pulverizing overmodulated bass frequencies pilfered from dubstep.
Comes packaged in a gorgeous six-panel folder with artwork by Stephen Kasner.