When listening to the first thirty seconds of the new single “Holy Ground (Shake the Memory),” one thing becomes incredibly clear about The Dead Daisies – these are guys who take heavy guitar riffing more seriously than most anyone else in the game these days. There’s so much focus on the thrust of the riffage in this track that there are moments in which it’s easy to forget just how big some of the other names in this band’s roster are, but in “Holy Ground (Shake the Memory),” I think the goal was to spotlight the greatest element of rock deliberately and distinctly.
The bass here is backing up the guitar parts effortlessly, and by giving it as scooped a finish as the six-string, there’s never any question as to whether or not the weight of the melody is genuine and not the result of some software-generated heaviness. The Dead Daisies didn’t find each other by playing through technological filtration in the last few decades; this is a supergroup that came together on the strength of – and as inspired by – true tube amplifiers and blood-stained fretboards, and their authenticity is part of the reason a single like this feels as cathartic as it does this December.
I’ve always been a believer that good overdrive is as essential a component in making a hard rock harmony warm as the actual structure of the melody itself is, and in the case of “Holy Ground (Shake the Memory),” I think this theory is especially true. Without being too much of a gear nerd, it’s obvious that these guys are plugging into Orange Amps and utilizing natural distortion more than they are a triple-tiered pedalboard partially comprised of a laptop element that could make any rock puritan sick to their stomach. That’s why this chorus is so intimate in tone, even with the angst of the instrumentation never descending from view.
The slick production quality enjoyed by both the single and the music video for “Holy Ground (Shake the Memory)” might be enough to impress some critics, but to me it’s simply another example of how much importance The Dead Daisies place on efficiency when they’re trying to make something new under this moniker. There’s no visual nor external sonic overindulgence to be found in the video, and given how lean and mean the source material is, I’d really expect nothing less from this group.
Real rock music is made for those who just can’t resist the urge to headbang to a quality beat or air-guitar to the right riffs, and right now The Dead Daisies are making as real a form of rock n’ roll as any of us could ask to receive – “Holy Ground (Shake the Memory)” is only the latest in a string of songs by them worth checking out immediately. I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity to see these guys play together in a live setting, but when that day comes, I hope to hear this composition sounding just as brawny and full of vitality as it does in this performance.