Album Review: DZ Deathrays – Black Rat

In the last year or so, the amount of two-piece rock acts emerging on the scene has really increased. Whether it be the likes of ferocious rockers Royal Blood and Drenge or party punk-rockers Death From Above 1979 and DZ Deathrays, the two-piece band is becoming increasingly popular. One such duo are the aforementioned DZ Deathrays , hailing from Brisbane, Australia. Having released their debut album Bloodstreams in 2012, they released their second album Black Rat last week. Read on to see what All Things Loud made of the album.

Opening with the fuzzy stomp of the title track, it’s evident early on that DZ Deathrays have created a more polished, melodic sound, a world away from the raw ferocity of early tracks No Sleep and Gebbie Street. Gina Works at Hearts does introduce some of Shane Parson’s heavier riffs, but also has a more melodic, super catchy chorus. It’s perfect for downtown house parties where rules are abandoned and mayhem is embraced like an old friend. New single Less Out of Sync makes use of some wavy guitar sounds, before a heavy chorus is contrasted with calmer verses. The song slowly builds up before a scuzzy fuzz rock outro makes way for comeback single Reflective Skull. A simple drum beat (courtesy of Simon Ridley) and eerie melody make way for a bouncing riff and sing-a-long vocals, whilst Keep Myself on Edge presents itself as one of the first big anthems on the album with its massive chorus. It’s a slow burner, not picking up much pace throughout. Northern Lights has more chant-along vocals, yet doesn’t really go anywhere in the end. Nightwalking speeds the record up again with a crazy party anthem, featuring a large chorus and a bassline which doesn’t stop grooving. It’s one of the better songs on the album, building up to a big outro which is ready set for festival fields the world over.

Fixations makes use of interesting, effects-laden drum patterns and a wobbly guitar line, adding a little bit of a funk groove to DZ Deathrays’ sound. This little variation in style is well-needed so that the band doesn’t stay on the same sounding path for too long, which some songs on the album do end up doing. Ocean Exploder’s heavy fuzz effects and fast-drumming make for the heaviest song on the album, as Parsons screams his way through the song with full-on ferocity. Penultimate track Tonight Alright has a jangly guitar riff, before Night Slave closes the album in full-on dance mode. Possibly the highlight of the album, it has a scuzzy funk rock riff and grooving dance beats, which are contrasted with a calmer verse, before the track slowly ends on Parson’s repetition of the track’s title. Clever guitar effects intertwine with wah-wah effects and the same lyrical content present throughout the album – life, love, partying and fun.

With Black Rat, DZ Deathrays have made big progression. Gone are the super raw elements present on Bloodstreams, and in are the melodies and polished production. It’s also evident that Parsons and Ridley have grown up, with more mature lyrics accompanying their well thought out sound. Black Rat may just be the record which pushes them further into the spotlight.


Black Rat is out now.