Even unto the very name of the band, drone heavy Connecticut outfit When the Deadbolt Breaks have always done exceedingly well in creating a sense of mire and an atmosphere of threat. Put those two together and what you wind up with is a feeling of impending violence — one that pays off periodically with bursts of grindcore from out of the droning morass — from which there’s no escape. Led by guitarist/vocalist/engineer Aaron Lewis, the band released their latest outing, Drifting toward the Edge of the Earth, last month on Ear One Productions, and basked in the challenge they laid out for their audience over the course of the album’s two discs, an entire one of which they dedicated to the 51-minute exploration, “My Coffin is Loaded with Sand and Fire.”
Rest assured then that the sonics of their lurching, sneaking Godflesh-derived plodding “Sleeps in Burning Hills” are duly fucked. And rest doubly assured that the video for the song, which was directed and edited by Lewis himself (that’s him with the cigar in the image above) and Charlie Winthal, is likewise. Culminating in quick, vague jumpcuts that give way to eerily peaceful footage of forest sunset, there’s a sense the whole time that something vile will happen, is happening, has happened. Lewis doubles as a photographer and is no stranger to fetish-based work, and it’s precisely that air of sexualized violence/violent sexuality that comes through across “Sleeps in Burning Hills.” I won’t spoil the narrative thread, but things hardly seem to turn out well for the lady in the white dress. Take that, purity.
If you think you’re up to the sensory assault that Deadbolt bring to bear across “Sleeps in Burning Hills,” then yeah, you’re probably not. When the Deadbolt Breaks harness a very particular brand of the aurally deranged, and that they’d match it with visuals so fitting here only speaks to an expansion of their disturbing aesthetic. Like an escalating serial killer.