Mark Deutrom has a new album coming out. It’s called The Blue Bird and is slated to drop January 4 on Season of Mist.
Probably most renowned for his time with the Melvins, Deutrom was born in the U.K. and is currently based in Austin, Texas. After briefly attending the California Institute of the Arts, Deutrom dropped out and headed south to Hollywood, where hardcore punk was taking off. The year 1982 found Deutrom in San Francisco’s metal scene. He played with Clown Alley and founded Alchemy Records with Victor “The Mascara Snake” Hayden.
Alchemy Records released the Melvins’ debut album, Gluey Porch Treatments, produced by Deutrom, who worked on the band’s follow-up album, Ozma. In 1993, Deutrom took over as bassist for the Melvins, replacing Lori Black. The Melvins toured with Tool, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Kiss, and Rush during Deutrom’s stint with the band until 1998.
Since then Deutrom has been involved in solo projects as well as heading up Bellringer and producing for other bands.
Comprising 13 tracks, The Blue Bird features Deutrom (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), R.L. Hulsman (drums), with guest performances by Aaron Lack (drums, percussion, vibraphone), G. Pat Harris (bass), and Joe Morales (alto saxophone).
Highlights on the album include “Radiant Gravity,” a measured, bluesy, prog-rock number full of drifting guitar textures and dark resonance. “Hell Is A City,” another prog-rock tune, rides oozing tones creating nuances of tension, as Deutrom’s wavering, almost hesitant, voice streams forth as if from an elusive dream. The undulating guitars infuse the tune with flavors of idle yearning.
“Maximum Hemingway” opens on strident guitars, dark and penetrating, conveying a deep guttural energy, like deconstructed slo-mo punk. Filtered vocals, tight and compact, inject moody discord as grinding, piercing guitar licks split the air asunder. “The Happiness Machine” delivers opaque rumbling guitars on a syncopated rhythm. A blazing, raucous guitar tops the grumbling colors, giving the tune a sonic rampart of reckless pushing severity.
The last track on the album, “Nothing Out There,” conjures up memories of Pink Floyd: a gently flowing prog-rock melody sparkling with orchestral savors. Deutrom’s vocal tones linger on floating timbres, imbuing the tune with suppressed, delicate motion.
The Blue Bird provides a dark, powerful concoction of soundscapes with a sense of imminence.