“Dead Son Rising” CD by Gary Numan with Ade Fenton ~ A Review

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“Dead Son Rising” CD by Gary Numan with Ade Fenton – released September 2011

(Photo credits: Ed Fielding Photography http://www.edfielding.co.uk/)

Long awaited, Dead Son Rising is a theme-driven collection of electronica only the way Gary Numan, along with Ade Fenton, can create. Pounding and wistful, demanding and longing, tender and brutal, it is a study in impossible contrasts that work together so seamlessly as to be other-worldly. Words can only inadequately describe the music on this brilliant CD. If you love electronica/dark wave/industrial/goth, this is a must-have addition to your collection.

The swell of the synthesizers backdropped with breathing sounds and static is a perfect indicator of what is to come on this epic CD. Something sinister yet magical is in the air, and we are about to be willingly drawn into its merciless grasp.

Big Noise Transmission
Static noise and a driving rhythm section catapult us into a staccato mind-puzzle fraught with urgent, whispered pleas. Fully Numan-esque and gripping, this industrial anthem is a rock-solid testament to a direction Numan has whole-heartedly embraced over the past sixteen years. He shows us he has this genre fully mastered and ready for our listening pleasure. The abrupt end leaves us aching for more.

Dead Sun Rising
Numan uses his signature vocals against a deeply satisfying electronic backdrop. There is no one on this planet that could pull off an electronic ballad as successfully as Gary Numan. It is the perfect melding of lyrics, vocals, and synthesizers that captures the soul and transports it to another dimension.

When the Sky Bleeds, He Will Come
Numan and company use everything but the kitchen sink to deliver this masterpiece. Left to the devices of mere mortals, this song would result in listening confusion; in Gary and Ade’s more than capable hands, it is an extraordinary testament to pushing music to its limits and successfully achieving perfection.

For the Rest Of My Life
Don’t let the title/lyrics fool you. This is no tender love song. It borders on an obsessiveness that is both scary yet oddly compelling. It is similar to approaching an accident scene on the highway, and not being able to avert your eyes. In fact, it makes the listener want to hit the “replay” button; not only to hear it again, but to validate the message.

Not the Love We Dream Of
The stark piano notes that open this song are gorgeous. Enter Gary Numan’s voice, and what we end up with is a slightly off-kilter and purposeful story woven of disappointment and sadness. Who can’t relate to the melancholic message delivered here? We have all made mistakes that have devastated us. Numan and company put context to those feelings so we can unleash the demons within.

The Fall
Gary advises us how to deal with being shattered, even telling us point blank that the world still goes on even if we cannot. This is a perfect song to play when things are falling apart in our lives, if only for the rhythm, which makes it impossible to sit still long enough to feel sorrow.

We Are the Lost
The powerful and driving drumbeat that opens this track and anchors it throughout is a welcome diversion from the keyboards that usually take the limelight. Coupled with a Middle Eastern flair that Numan has previously and successfully brought into his music, this song resonates down into the listener’s toes. The textures are rich and colorful, like an open market full of hand-woven cloth displays.

For The Rest Of My Life (Reprise)
Like a path winding its way through a dark forest, we are gently guided to a clearing where Gary awaits us to remind us of the lost love he introduced us to earlier in our journey.

Into Battle
This track is a cacophony of sounds that starts out somewhat reminiscent of wind chimes in a stormy summer garden. But don’t be lulled into submission. The seemingly harmless wind chimes morph into the cadence and timber of something destructive and sinister. Even if you are on your guard, you are not going to be ready for the abrupt end. Signifying eternity, perhaps?

Not the Love We Dream Of (Piano Version)
Again, we are treated to the stark piano notes winding through the introduction to this song. Slowed down and purposeful, almost funereal, we are reminded of mortality, mistakes, and failed missions. It is definitely a song of introspection, but with the change-up in tone and tempo midway through, Numan informs us musically that there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

Dead Sun Rising (Early Version)
This version feels like it is played at a slower speed. Numan’s vocals are the focus with the lush accompaniment of electronica there merely to support the master as he works his craft. It is a delightfully welcome version of the title track, and the perfect close to a perfect CD.

Well done, Gary. You are a perfectionist, and our lives are enriched because of it.

Visit Gary Numan’s website: http://www.numan.co.uk/

“The Fall” official full-length promotional video via YouTube user GaryNumanOfficial:

“The Fall” live by Gary Numan – via YouTube user GaryNumanOfficial:

14 thoughts on ““Dead Son Rising” CD by Gary Numan with Ade Fenton ~ A Review

  1. from the word go it was very apparent that Gary numan was different,
    Shining out when all around was dark Numan had” Star” written all over him, image , sound , and the abilty to crush your soul with a single line of lyric then lift you up with a spine tingleing synth line.
    Not one artist i can think of EVER made the synthesizer sound so good, preset or not,,the skill was, and still is in the production, and “perfect placement ” these machines owe a grest deal of thanks to gary and so do i, 31 years i have followed his career, my early attempts to emulate the sounds he used taught me very thing i know today about programing synthesizers and stage presence when performing, gary may have been petrified at the time but he took the microphone and commanded his audience and does the very same to this day, i have said before,,and i quote myself “the 80s press condemned him and said he would nt last a year, and where are the writers of those articles now ??? i say,, the best man Won,” unquote,
    The above review is worthy of the man himself and let me say it now generations to come will find the name Gary Numan, they will play his work and pass it down to the next, as my 2 sons are doing already,
    Thankyou for 30 years of excellence, and many more to follow,
    Matt j


  2. You wrote a most excellent post Miss P! After reading everything and listening to “The Fall,” I am putting this on my short list to pick-up.

    It is extremely exciting to hear “that Numan” sound in a modern form. The return of one of the biggest names in New Wave has one new fans, like my youngest son who adores all of Numan’s stuff, and IMHO the reunion of other Post Punk, Post-Disco & New Wave bands like Blondie!


  3. Awwww, thanks ((((MJ))))). The more I listen to this CD, the more brilliant it becomes. Numan has taken a beating for the length of time between releases, but has proven time and again that his perfectionism is our gain.

    Hoping all is well in your world, and thank you for your comment!


  4. Just don’t get it !! Waited ages for the Album; I have been a Numan Fan from Tubeway Army days, as I am old enough to be !!

    I personally think “Ade Fenton” has messed up “Numans” MOJO .. “Jagged” was good but “PURE” that was just the dogs bolloc*s .. my younger kids, just loved it and understood, where he was coming from. I know I am not going to be popular with this, but … why not have called it “Jagged Part II, the bits we didn’t want you to hear” !! I have listened to it over and over, in different surroundings, with no Alcohol in my body, to loads of Alcohol… My head under my bed covers..!!! you name it, I’ve tried it. I pray that “Splinter” will be everything I wanted and more. You can photoshop pictures, of Numan .. for the Album cover.. but … Gary often say’s he does not like rehashing old stuff… !!! This time he should have just “pressed” “FORMAT” … I know it’s my choice to listen or not… i want to listen.. Numan’s voice is just so… It must be like people who love different F1 engines, and the sound they make. This could have easily been the music on a PS3/XBOX360 game .. like Dead Space… I really do wonder if Numan, is really happy with this… Please keep “Fenton” away from the next one….


  5. Hi David,
    Although I obviously disagree, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I think Numan and Fenton have repurposed old and new to get to this collection. And, of course, I think it’s brilliant. Mr. Numan continues to move in a forward direction instead of wallowing in the past. Had he stayed where he was 30 years ago, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because he would have faded completely from the music scene. Instead, he’s chosen to adapt, change, and create a new genre that suits him in this stage of his life.

    When Bowie kept reinventing himself, people said he was a genius. Conversely, Gary Numan is knocked constantly for “experimenting.” I must say, I just don’t get the double-standard that has dogged his career. But what I do get is that I can’t wait for Splinter, because Mr. Numan has stated it will be a continuation of Jagged, Exile, and Pure. And that makes me a very happy fan indeed!



  6. i love ade fentons synth programming, im thinking…. big industrial nasty gritty banging sounds from that virus
    i remember a tweet from him saying “today i am mostly mixing” hes done a whole album and they have it in most peoples letter boxes in the time its taken me to complete (nearly) 1 track, hats off, sounds like that, that qiuckly, i say this as a programmer, take know how and skill,, Numan& Fenton. top dogs


  7. Hi Matt,

    That really puts the work that went into this incredible production into perspective. Thank you for sharing it! xo


  8. iv’e been a numan fan fo over 30 years and have had to listen to some dire albums, and im affraid this is one of them, not so much an album more a collection of songs that did’nt make the cut,the dead son rising track is pure numan but for most of the album i get the impression that idiots like ade fenton have influenced numan’s decision making, the album in most part sound like a poor collection of b sides, the mini hype surrounding the album does not justify the end product. i think numan should get back to what he does best, big sounds, anthemic dark melodies and ditch the fraud fenton and do things only numan knows how.


  9. Hi Chris,

    Again, I don’t agree, but that’s what makes the world go ’round. Of course, Mr. Numan is a formidable talent all on his own. But it doesn’t hurt to occasionally add another layer that a different style or point of view brings to the table. I have a feeling “Splinter” will be Gary’s own, and full of the sounds you are hoping for.

    Thanks for your comment.


  10. when you work on your own you have your own ideas and input and you can get stale very quickly, working with another ,,the ideas bounce off one another and you find youself on a creative path you would never have travelled down (we wont mention bill sharp although change your mind was a cracker) the NUMAN/FENTON collaboration is working and sounds great, just take a read of the music press ,,would this be if gary still worked alone it would certainly sound very different gary numan always made a good sound and with ade fenton its got dark powerfull and evil, and those are all positive elements i love to hear in a track,, i would give anything to be in numans position career wise now,
    matt j


  11. Pingback: Gary Numan ~ Semi-Unplugged via SHOWstudio « Rave and Roll Blog

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