Review Summary: remastered rituals.
So what we have here is a highly original death metal group who go by the name of The Dead – they play a brand of feedback-ridden, sludgy death metal, almost as if Church of Misery
had an identity crisis and thought they were Autopsy
circa 1991. And they’re Australian. Surprised? I’m not. With some of their musical foundation coming from one of Australia’s death metal pioneers Misery
, The Dead formed in 2005 and have since pumped out several demos and two full lengths. Ritual Executions
, their second record, was originally self-released in 2009 and limited to 100 copies, but has now been remastered (notably by Aphotic Mote of Portal
) and re-released with a wider distribution by Diabolical Conquest Records.
To say that The Dead’s style of death is simplistic is no understatement, but don’t be mistaken into thinking that this is a polka-beat, one-riff pony kind of deal. The guitar lines are remarkably distinctive, a result of the Brisbanian trio melding together the sound of bands like Coffins
with an old-school vibe a la Autopsy or Hooded Menace
, not to mention their full emphasis on drugged-out, psychedelic groove. Tracks like ‘Born in a Grave’ highlight the band’s shifts from frenetic death metal into groove-oriented riff mastery, and Mike Yee’s guttural spew adds yet another interesting dimension to The Dead’s unique style.
The remaster of the album sees an added focus on delivering a ‘bigger’, fuller sound – the guitar tone is deliciously dense, not only complementing the Autopsy inspired putridity but making it easy to carve out discernible grooves from within the enveloping reverberations. The frenetic bass in the title track giving way to the song’s signature rhythm is one of the catchiest moments on the record, and it’s exemplified even further by the album’s fluid production. In fact, it’s almost a certainty that every song on Ritual Executions
will throw impenetrable and head-banging riffs at you, with perhaps the sole exception of the closer, ‘Death Metal Suicide’. This ten minute mid-paced dirge is an entirely instrumental piece that invokes feelings of sentimentality and nostalgia through its slower rhythm and classic-rock inspired melodies.
The Dead are just another example of Australia’s knack for churning out distinctive death metal – while riding the wave along with bands like Ignivomous
, Cemetery Urn
, The Dead are stylistically divergent from their geographical contemporaries, and within the confines of death metal as well. Ritual Executions
is remarkably accessible on a track by track listen, but its longevity is greatly lengthened as layers from each of the songs are peeled away. The simple fact here is that the catchiness of a band’s sludgy death metal is not so far removed from the catchiness of a pop record, all while taking advantage of the durability that comes with any good death metal album. Just as it has been for me, it’s because of this that I’m assured Ritual Executions
won’t leave your CD players.