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Red Of Tooth And Claw

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 4, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

With eight years of refining their sound and vision, Murder By Death rolled out of the gates fully realized in 2000, playing a blend of rocking Americana noir and dramatic Post-Punk that erased old style and audience boundaries. With their fourth CD, Red of Tooth and Claw, the Bloomington, Indiana, quartet are emerging as true artists in the zero-boundary sense: cinematic storytellers whose albums come together in an essential whole, and players whose jaw-dropping performances on record make you yearn for the chance to experience their energy up close and in person. Recorded with Grammy-winning producer Trina Shoemaker (Queens Of The Stone Age, Emmylou Harris, Iggy Pop) at Dark Horse studios in Tennessee, the Vagrant debut captures the drama and nuance of MBD's sound without compromising a lick of the band's energy.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 4, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vagrant
  • ASIN: B0012IWIOU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,193 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Leard on February 25, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
Murder by Death hails from Bloomington, Indiana, but they may as well come from another time and place altogether. Their music fuses country, rockabilly, rock, punk, folk, and Western film scores into a cohesive sound that sets them apart from the rest of the music world. On Red of Tooth and Claw, the band takes everything they've learned, and earned, and puts it down on record. The end result is a haunted wild western-themed hellride through the sepia-tone lens of American mythology and classical tragic poetry. As lead vocalist Adam Turla describes the album, it's like "Homer's Odyssey of revenge, only without the honorable character at the center."

The album starts with the rumbling, stomping, "Coming Home", the story of a man who is recently released from prison but sounds more vengeful than happy to come home to his lover. What follows over the next 11 tracks is a twisting, turning tale that finds our antihero thinking back on his love with both nostalgia and unbridled passion, always with an undercurrent of hatred running beneath it. He takes on odd jobs to make ends meet as he closes in on his target of obsession.

Concept albums are nothing new, neither to the music world nor Murder by Death, who have previously told tales of the devil declaring revenge on a small Mexican town to a collection of short stories inspired by Dante and Poe. The challenge in a concept album is to keep the theme running strong while also making a great album, and Murder by Death accomplishes that. From the rollicking energy of the fiery "Rum Brave" to the sweeping landscape strings of "Theme (for Ennio Morricone)" to the heart-wrenching paean of "Spring Break 1899", the listener is taken along for the ride, witnessing every dark deed and seeing every twist in the road.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My first brush with Murder By Death came with In Bocca Al Lupo, a dark and gritty album that made me an instant convert. Now here comes more fire and fury with Red of Tooth and Claw. On this album, MBD brings us another round of wonderfully dark and sinister tales, brought to life by the booming vocals of Adam Turla and the relentless, merciless attack of his band.
There is so much to like here its hard to pick favorites, but I think that Comin' Home, Ball & Chain, Rum Brave, Steal Away, Ash, '52 Ford and the sordid closer Spring Break 1899 are the best cuts.
If you have not heard Murder By Death before, the best way to describe them is that I hear shades of Nick Cave, Willard Grant Conspiracy, Jim Morrison and yes, even Johnny Cash in the music. If you like any of those, then chances are you will like MBD.
The CD is housed in a standard jewel box and comes with a fold-out cover insert that contains the all-important lyrics. Red of Tooth and Claw unfortunately is quite brief, clocking in at just under 40 minutes of music. But not a minute is wasted in any schlock. This is a winner, so check it out.
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Format: Audio CD
"Red of Tooth and Claw" is my introduction to Murder By Death, and rarely have I been so impressed by a first encounter with a band. If this doesn't technically qualify as a concept album, it comes very, very close. This is a stunning musical statement -- in its every detail, it evokes a bleak, wind-stripped landscape that seems to leach the very life out of the human soul. Unlike Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "Murder Ballads" (which "Red of Tooth and Claw" recalls in many ways), there isn't a single unified lyrical theme here; there's more at work here than tales of mayhem and death. In fact, "Fuego!" claims to be a love ballad -- but it's a song about love unlike any I've ever heard before. Against this soundscape that the band has so deftly painted, perhaps this is the only kind of love that's even possible to experience. I see a clear evolution here: from Johnny Cash at his "Deliah" darkest, through Nick Cave and with a little Springsteen during his "Nebraska" period thrown in. What "Red of Tooth and Claw" adds to the mix is a musical palate that is much more rich and varied than either Cash's or Springsteen's. The intricate drum and cello work on "Rumbrave," for example, provides a dramatic counterpoint to Adam Turla's vocals full of dust and bones. Imagine Glenn Danzig howling against a storm full of horrific beauty. Popular music is bound to a moment, but true art is timeless. Minus the crisp, clean sound, this could have been recorded 30 years ago, and I have no doubt that it will sound just as starkly fresh 30 years from now. Add this to your listening rotation ASAP!
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Format: Audio CD
If you're a fan of MBD's older albums, you'll quickly notice the progression and evolution of the band in its latest album. Continuing on as a quartet, the band has gained a great ability to create a clean but rich sound that can fill your soul(cheesey right? Just listen to it) A considerable contrast to their last CD, Red of Tooth and Claw is a faster paced album, relentlessly bringing singer Adam Turla's fantastical lyrics to you intertwined with a powerful and emotional sound.

Aptly entitled track Theme-for Ennio Morricone, has the resounding effects that only one of Morricone's scores themselves might, with the ability to capture you without the need for visual interpretation. One of my favorites, The Black Spot, brings an ominous tone of a man scorn and Turla's voice brings a genuine feeling that can send chills down your spine.In this album and within the band you will find a unique sound that seems pure and sincere. Give this album a listen, you won't be disappointed.
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