Dead Skeletons – Dead Magick (A Records)

Dead Magick

If bands like Neu!, Suicide, Spacemen 3, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre get your mouth watering, then meet your newest obsession: The Dead Skeletons. The first thing to know about this Icelandic group is they don’t act like a group in the traditional sense of the word. Jón Sæmundur seems to be the only constant musician on Dead Magick, and to the best of my knowledge they don’t play live. Instead, they get the word out via the internet, with an especially strong presence on YouTube, where they have videos for all twelve songs on Dead Magick. That they’ve gone through such tremendous efforts to present their songs visually makes sense given their cinematic quality. These aren’t catchy songs and they don’t subscribe to pop conventions. They’re long (average song-length is six minutes), with a minimalist sense of repetition. They recall the bands listed above, but with decidedly Eastern sensibilities in both the melodic motifs and the lyrics, which are more like mantras than traditional rock fare (one song – “Om Mani Peme Hung” – actually is a Tibetan mantra). It’s heady dead-serious stuff, but also completely fascinating. My favorite songs to get lost in are the brilliant eight-minute opener “Dead Mantra” with its endlessly repeated incantations (see the video below), “When The Sun Comes Up” which shows they’ve paid close attention to their Brian Jonestown Massacre records (Dead Magick was put out on Anton Newcombe’s record label), and a psychotic death march called “Yama.” Those are the highlights, but Dead Magick should really be experienced as a whole to get the full mesmeric effect. I can’t wait to hear where they go from here.

The entire album can be streamed for free at:


1.  Dead Mantra

2.  OM Mani Peme Hung

3.  Kingdom of God

4.  Psycho Dead

5.  Get on the Train

6.  Dead Magick I

7.  Ask Seek Knock

8.  Ljosberinn

9.  Live!/Lifdu!

10. When The Sun Comes Up (For The Last Time)

11. Yama

12. Dead Magick II