EP Review: Oli Brown & the Dead Collective – Prologue

Oli Brown didn’t quite knock on the door to be invited in and remind everyone what he was capable of with the Prelude EP. Instead, he and his new project The Dead Collective kicked down said door and shoved it down our throats and if that had been the only music he released under that moniker this year, it would have been absolutely fine. However, Brown is already back for a second round with another EP which would imply that The Dead Collective’s story is still in its introductory phase.

Having shown off Prelude as well as some other songs opening for The Answer, some of those feature here. It’s big, bold, cinematic, atmospheric rock which doesn’t neatly fit into a sub-genre (or even a sub sub-genre like so much of the extreme side of metal). Instead, this is rock music which bleeds authenticity as Brown spills forth his mind. Essentially, it’s more of the same, in the best possible way.

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Not doing anything by halves, the EP kicks off with the epic (in the true sense of the word) “Your Love” which is a mighty seven-and-a-half-minute beast. Much like the rest of The Dead Collective’s material thus far, it’s vulnerable, laced with pain, anguish and regret in Brown’s vocals. It’s one that many people will see themselves in as it details a toxic relationship. With simple, bright tones in the guitar, it shows fragility yet when it opens up in the chorus, allowing for Wayne Proctor’s drums to join to make for moments of bombast, hope and a determination to fight back. Paired with the gritty tones found in the guitar solo, it’s a reflection of the fight back, defiance pours from it in a sudden jolt, as if the dam has finally broken.

Elsewhere, “Everything You Want” is a fuzz-laden rocker. As the guitar mingle with the deft groove of Proctor, it’s the most sonically upbeat number on the EP. More riff-based, it’s got a filthy, gritty tone to it, balancing out the blues-drenched guitar solo which it slips into and out of perfectly. Meanwhile, “Father” has its own desperation and dark tone to it, the duo of Brown and Proctor really work dynamically on this one, both of them fusing together rather than taking it in turns for their own moment. It never feels like they’re fighting against each other, instead, they combine to create a ballsy, earthquake-inducing soundscape, the bright vocals sitting a touch lower in the mix to fit with the darker melody.

There’s also the return of Jo Quail as “Sinking Ship” from the previous EP is revisited. Much like “Haunted”, this “Solitude Session” brings a more impassioned atmosphere to this stripped back version. The addition of cello allows for a darker and moodier tone but it also allows Sam Wood a moment to shine as his masterful touch of slide guitar further enhances what was already a powerful song.

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Prologue shows that Brown is only getting started on this new journey. As he said when we spoke to him earlier in the year, he’s been sitting on these songs for quite some time now and this isn’t a rush job after the initial EP. There’s nothing quite like Prelude here yet you could easily swap any of the songs from it onto here or vice versa and the respective EPs would still work. It’s another set of excellent songs which intentionally blurs the lines between genres to create a spectacular listen.

Prologue is released on 12th May

Check out all the bands we review in 2023 on our Spotify and YouTube playlists!

Header image by Drew Ormrod

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