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Died | Anonymized Internal Criminals

The Brooklyn quartet mix psychoanalytical concepts with brawny post-punk aggro.

Plenty of people have told me I need to have my head examined. Died are the first band that could probably do the job — and definitely the first that made me feel like I needed to look up esoteric psychoanalytical terminology if I wanted to have any hope of understanding what the hell they’re talking about. The two-year old Brooklyn quartet’s artistic vision is apparently centred around the concept of trans-alivedead, which (near as I can understand, it, anyway) is an existential schism between life and death suffered mainly by people with schizophrenia. Which is a complicated way to say: These are clearly some pretty brainy dudes. But fear not: Their music delivers plenty of brawny wallop to go with all that high-IQ conceptualizing. While firmly anchored in propulsive post-punk, the five songs on their sophomore EP Anonymized Internal Criminals — how’s that for a catchy title? — comprise a massive, roiling melting pot of aggressive sounds and styles. Everything from hardcore, noise and grindcore to math-rock, emo and slowcore gets tossed into the malevolent mix as the musicians thrash, crash, smash and bash their way through a complex, ever-changing musical landscape whose chaotic darkness seems designed to complement lyrical themes of mental illness, alienation, instability, death and crime. Not that it’s easy to parse those subjects in their lyrics, thanks mainly to their self-destructive vocalist’s lung-and-larynx-scarring technique. Listen to them long enough and loud enough and you’ll definitely need your ears examined, if not your noggin.