From the land down under comes a band of balls-out Death Metal in the form of THE DEAD. Heavy on the low end, the band’s eponymous debut is a wall of gnashing teeth and churning fists with nothing left to nuance. There may be a swagger and sway to some of the tracks on the album, but the distinct characteristic throughout is a wave of crashing power and wrath. Songs are dispatched with all the delicacy of using a 5-pound hammer on an ice sculpture; guitars crunch, drums and vocals throttle with never ending brutality.
There is a technical aspect to THE DEAD’s approach on all of the songs and this is most prevalent in the bass, which is almost the driving force behind all the cuts. Playing more a slap-bass style than one that is dug out, one might be even convinced Fish or Les Claypool is manning the station at the low-end of the bands assault. Pings and zings of the bass are so at the front of the songs that the guitars drift in and out and get lost with the heavy deep grunts that bassist Adam Keleher grooves out over and over. Unfortunately, this all mixes in to a bit of a mundane sound of repetition with little by way of variation or change from song to song which brings the album down a few notches. Songwriting seems hell bent on churning out the same sound of fury so much that any original or unique avenues to the Death sound are lost.
Trying something different is attempted on the last track "Doomsayer”, which slows down the tempo and tries to achieve a shift from the other songs. What makes this endeavour futile or at least unworkable as a walk down a different path is that it sounds like the same formula as all the previous cuts has just been slowed down with no departure from the chords or bass lines to speak of. The band get pass marks for effort in the delving face-first into a cyclone of brawn, but the album overall just timidly goes through that same narrow fissure and ultimately is a bore at its essence.
(Online July 25, 2008)