Louisville, Kentucky boasts a notable indie-rock legacy, but the city has a deep history in hardcore and metal, too, with several unironically true-blue metal acts (Kinghorse, Coliseum) having cut their teeth there. Dead Child—which finds guitarists David Pajo (Slint, Papa M) and Michael McMahan (The For Carnation, Slint's touring lineup), bassist Todd Cook (Shipping News), and drummer Tony Bailey (Lords) backing surname-free vocalist Dahm—is Louisville's latest metal export, and in spite of recording for an indie-friendly label with producer Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Say Anything), the band approaches metal without the expected indie-dude detachment or dilettantism. Unfortunately, Dead Child also approaches metal without the songs that made its influences—early Metallica and Judas Priest—legendary. Attack signifies classic thrash and power-metal well enough: The galloping riffs, dueling leads, and upper-register vocals are all where they need to be. But Dead Child can't deliver a memorable melody to save its life, and for all its warmth, Wood's production fails to add the equally vital muscle and low end found in far greater '80s-thrash throwbacks like Black Tide and Shadows Fall.
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