Deadlights fans, rejoice! Your band have released a brand new single, and BOY is it worth the wait! The Brisbane quartet have been relatively quiet since the release of their debut album Mesma in 2017. The songs of Mesma left their mark with many, in part due to Deadlights ripping up stages in shows across Australia with the likes of Thy Art Is Murder, Polaris, Saviour, and Deez Nuts, as well as their own headline tour.
“Bathed in Venom” is the first taste of new music to come from Deadlights, and the single sets a ridiculously high bar. Beyond the impressiveness of the single (we’ll get to that), the even better news is that there’s more to come! Vocalist Dylan Davidson shared “This is but a taste of what’s to come, something to tide you over and prepare you for what’s to follow. More will come. Sooner than you think.” (!)
“Everything is upside down. The walls are off angle.”
From its eerie opening, “Bathed in Venom” sets a scene of unsettling questions about oneself and reality. Deadlights lyrics have historically read like existential questions explored on paper, and “Bathed in Venom” is just as curious. The focus has been shifted more toward what’s going on with oneself though, as opposed to the outward concerns we heard in tracks like “Attitude and Longitude” and “Backwash”.
I can’t speak for Deadlights, but to my ears “Bathed in Venom” speaks like someone who has realised they’ve been under the grips of something toxic. Something that was intended to be helpful and numbing has had a worsening effect upon them. The sense of urgency and disturbance of this toxic love affair experience ripples throughout the track, with Deadlights coming at our ears with intensity from all angles.
Haunting choruses meld with erratic verses, where Deadlights’ brand of rhythmic experimentation and syllable play shine through. Lines like “Done this so long, brains turned to sponge” are hit home with a unnerving punches, with the concern escalating. Every member of Deadlights is behind lines like “Automatic waves of static shocks for the sake of wreaking havoc”, turning sentiment and fear into palpable sound that’s easy to get swept up into. Sharpened guitar claws slice while state of mind and togetherness disintegrates.
It’s all too good that it’s tough to put into words. The 4:13 track is a journey to be hooked into; realising what you’re doing to yourself, where you’ve ended up, and what you’ve become. Sliding more and more downward into darkness, Deadlights land in a breakdown-esque angular hole of no confidence. There’s a ridiculously satisfying turning point moment of drawing a line, where silence punctuates the darkness and self-awareness becomes the saviour.
With a drum-centric moment of clarity, it’s an embracing of “my own hypocrisies”, embracing the “person that hides beneath” and taking back control. Incredible! In Dylan’s words, “Bathed in Venom” is about “about climbing out of a mental hole and taking an aggressive stand against that voice.”
“I’ve always known that the antidote was words in my throat”
And I’ve not even talked about the music video. Facing the self in a world of uncertainty, darkness, and disconnect is deftly expressed by Kez Ellis-Jones of Crystal Arrow Films. Set in a stately home or in industrial locations, the sense of trapped and out of touch with reality comes along with the band members performing the song.
I can’t get enough of this. Welcome back, Deadlights. Stream or watch “Bathed in Venom” via your favourite places: www.grysclrec.lnk.to/Venom