GARY NUMAN – DEAD SON RISING (2011)
Dead Son Rising is an interesting release for Gary Numan, delayed by several years, briefly abandoned altogether and finally transformed into a dark and varied album, guaranteed to have something for every Numan fan.
Produced and co-written with Ade Fenton, Dead Son Rising has been fashioned from a decade's worth of unfinished songs and demos, some of which even date back to 1997's Exile. The end result – originally called Resurrection – is a curious mix containing some of Numan's most atmospheric and diverse tracks for years, with the finished songs bearing little resemblance to the original demos.
Numan's emotional outpouring on "For the Rest of My Life" has to rank alongside his classic electro-ballads such as "Sleep By Windows" or "One Perfect Lie", while heavier stomping tracks such as "Big Noise Transmission" and single, "The Fall" follow the industrial style present on Pure and Jagged.
While instrumental tracks "Resurrection" and "Into Battle" add to the filmic feel and atmosphere, you can't help but feel that more could have been done with them. Dead Son Rising does have a dark cinematic quality to it, and boasts some of the best production heard on any Numan album to date, with Gary's vocals coming across crisp and clear for the most part. The real standout track for me is the epic "Dead Sun Rising" (note the play on words), where Numan returns to his sci-fi roots, exploring similar themes to those on his early albums. Also worth tracking down is the early version of the title track, which sounds closer in style to Jagged, opening with Eastern influenced strings set against a pulsing bass.
By Numan standards, there is a great deal of experimentation on the album, some of which works better than others; We Are the Lost", sounds rather lost, and the piano versions of "Not the Love We Dream Of" and "For the Rest of My Life (Reprise)", feel like little more but padding. While it's nice to have some stripped back piano pieces from Numan, the album gradually peters out into an instrumental oblivion.
However, Dead Son Rising presents Gary Numan in a new light – or dark – and as his first new material for five years, it will no doubt delight those who first caught sight of him at the NIN concerts in 2009 or have discovered him through his appearance on The Mighty Boosh. Who would have ever thought that?!
Dead Son Rising has indeed risen from the dusty corners of the Numan studio and is at last with us, after many a false start and has evolved into an album in its own right.