The Dead
Deathsteps to Oblivion

Man, this is evil stuff.  It’s not fast, it’s actually quite melodic but I’ll be goddamned if this shit doesn’t get by on sheer tonnage alone.  The Dead hail from Australia, a country/continent with a rich heavy scene that doesn’t always get the credit it so rightly deserves.  I’m coming into this review as an ignorant dumbshit, seeing as I’ve not heard a lick of The Dead’s two previous full-lengths or any of their demo/EP material.  What I’m hearing is the best parts of black metal, killer sludgy doom vibes, delightfully obnoxious death metal retching in the vocal department, skin-stripping black metal atmospheres, noise-rock and a recording that yields the instrumentation a ludicrous amount of clarity (those fuckin’ bass lines, maaaan!).

“Maze of Fire” begins with what I can only describe as an ancient incantation spoken in alternating death/black tongues.  Once the song kicks in it’s a maggot orgy of festering, toilet scrubbin’ dirge guitar buzz, pluckin’ bass counterpoints and drummer Chris Morses’ open bowel beats.  I’m way fuckin’ impressed with guitarist/bassist Adam Keleher’s mentally-molested playing.  His guitar-work isn’t full of technical flash, but the style is unique…I can’t put a bead on exactly what the man is doing though I love it to hell and back.  Sometimes he’s doing these weird noise-rock squeals, then there’s this overflowing shitter full of demonic doom/death riffage, creepy melodic leads, solos strangled by a black metal garrote…  He ain’t your average bear for sure and his low-end is equally obtuse.  Vocalist Mike Yee seems if he’ll vomit up his stomach, vocal chords and a ghoul all at once and at any moment.  The delivery is grossly bloated n’ overweight in every respect.  Would saying this reminds me of a better produced Coffins, Winter and Autopsy make me sound like I got a headful of rocks?  How about adding Entombed and Incantation meets UK noise-sickos Tractor rolling around in a dump truck load of prescription pills to the “sounds like” thesis?  Give me a hand here brethren!  What’s cool is the above-mentioned bands are only waypoints, this is something entirely different altogether.  The Dead are dangerously on their own fucked-up program.

Lurching like an Am-Rep groove wearing skunk stink for perfume, “Disturbing the Dead” has a twitchy, repetitive sludgy riff propelling it straightforward into a tarpit of prehistoric doom that’s heavier than all of the models combined in the BBW porn scene.  Crusty, blackened screams interrupt the turgid, drooling growls as the rhythms are locked into a fearsome, minimalist cycle relying on heathen pounding that would scare the robe off of the good lord.  All of the heft n’ heave is offset by glistening, melody-minded lead guitar lines and squealing, slow-motion solos that use a few notes to great effect.  “The God Beyond” is riddled with sampled machine gun fire, though I can’t say that I expected the psychotic, schizophrenic breakdown of Burzum/Darkthrone black metal that follows.  The production is better than the aforementioned nasties, but the speed, sickness and salmonella is kindred.  This surge of despicable hatred feels like it will snap at any moment, but the cathartic respite provided by a calm interlude of sparse, piercing lead guitar melodies, suave bass grooves and a subtle drum presence alter the course of events altogether….  A descending, vaguely Sabbath-y riff closes this beast off with the finality of a guillotine drop.

Tribal, African percussion boils n’ bubbles like a cauldron for nearly a minute n’ change during “Terminus,” the cultured ambience rotting away like a bloated corpse into THC baked, doom deviance thereafter.  It’s hardly “the blues” but the playing is damn close and hella groovy like a crucified version of The Pod People.  The title track could knock out a giant sloth with its stench.  There is no cohesive description I can think of to convey the amount of damnation doom on hand in this composition, so I’ll state simply that it’s a motherfucker from hell.

Deathsteps to Oblivion is a disgusting, demonic work that’s 100% highly recommended and worth your time.  The Dead are not aping trends or tradition, rather building a temple of human bones upon the hallowed grounds of the bands that inspired them to take up the black arts.  Sick, sick stuff…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
June 9th, 2015

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