It's tough to overcome prejudices. When I first heard of a band called "Murder By Death," I didn't know what to expect, but it couldn't have been good. They're doubling up on kill references in their name. Fortunately, I had a chance to hear their latest real album last year (they have since recorded a instrumental accompaniment to a graphic novel) and I was quickly converted.
No matter how many times I have to do it, I can never find proper words to describe their style. It's sort of spaghetti western meets metal. They take the dark, gritty imagery from both genres and make songs that sculpt figures better than Remington. Lead singer Adam Turla provides a distinct, deep baritone that depicts the lonely hired hand. He also has bad ass mutton chops. Sarah Balliet provides one of the most unique aspects to the band with her ominous cello play.
Despite these western Americana images, the truly epic stories give the songs a metal swagger. I had the opportunity to see the band open for Gaslight Anthem and there was definitely a guy holding an invisible skull. You know that move. The Hamlet.
Another reason this band is on my mind is because they are performing in my town of Springfield, Mo. on Dec. 5 at the Outland Ballroom. It is a benefit for Toys for Tots. (Previously mentioned The Bootheel will be opening.) If you live anywhere near the area, you must go. The last time the band played here in that venue, the intimate atmosphere made for one of the best shows I've attended. So check them out.
Image courtesy of Live Buzz of Bloomington, which has a more eloquent show review than I could pull off.