Huron - The Dead Stay Dead - (8/10)
Published on December 19, 2015
Huron might not a name that readily springs to mind, nor does their previous output necessarily make any claim that it should. However, The Dead Stay Dead—the third full-length release from the Plymouth four-piece—is an undoubtedly formidable slab of deathed-out groove thrash that is heartily recommended to all fans of the genre’s heavier side.
There isn’t much to say about The Dead Stay Dead, other than that it absolutely rips. Ignoring the fact that its cover art appears to be ripped straight from the inside cover of an eighth-grader’s history notebook; this is an album deserving of your attention. While it shows flourishes of melodic death metal here and there, the album primarily takes its cues from early 90’s thrash acts such as Machine Head. In fact, many of the songs on The Dead stay Dead have a distinctly The More Things Change… feel about them—particularly the thumping bass opening and harmonic flurry’s of the title-track (above). Elsewhere, the album draws similarities with more technically-inclined acts such as Byzantine, and even early Devin Townsend in its more melodic and inventive moments.
Despite these persistent flourishes, Huron primarily stick to their thrash guns. There isn’t a whole lot of variety by which to distinguish The Dead Stay Dead’s eleven tracks. Although none of the record’s eleven tracks come off as necessarily formulaic, they are also undeniably cut from the same cloth. However, the equally undeniable competency and emotion that drives each track elevates The Dead Stay Dead beyond the usual unremarkable groove fare. However, this is not to say that the band don’t excel within the bounds they’ve set for themselves.
Huron might only do one thing, but they do it exceedingly well. Each and every riff on The Dead Stay Dead is catching, if not always memorable, and the same can be said of the solos and lead breaks, which, although not particularly distinctive, are always placed and performed to maximum effect. The drums are never short of outstanding, and consistently provide the energetic driving force behind Huron’s music, and the vocals, while (again) perhaps not the most versatile example of the style, are perfectly suited to the band’s style and Rohan James’s delivery is (also again) both perfectly suited and thoroughly convincing.
Even if you’re the type of person who for whatever reason swears-off groove-orientated metal, The Dead Stay Dead is an album worthy of your attention. In fact, calling it “groove” isn’t really all that warranted given the furious pace set by much of its running time, but it’s the prevalent, crushing riffs that Huron shine their brightest. The Dead Stay Dead is simply a superbly executed metal record.