King Parrot
Dead Set

I really enjoyed Bite Your Head Off, the 2012 debut album from Australia’s King Parrot. It was a fun and rollicking blast which hybridized grind, thrash and punk into a fresh and unique sound, spiked with a refreshing sense of humor. Apparently a lot of other folks enjoyed it as well judging by the rising profile of the band over the past couple of years. An extensive North American tour, scoring a deal with Candlelight Records and working with none other than Phil Anselmo on the recording of this sophomore album, entitled Dead Set, have been some of the key highlights during King Parrot’s steady rise to prominence.

Dead Set finds King Parrot maturing into a tighter and more confident unit, while stylistically following a similar template to the debut. And considering they nailed quite a unique sound on Bite Your Head Off, simply refining and tightening up their established formula proves to be a pretty wise move. Dead Set is a meaner, dirtier and altogether more punishing slab of extremity than its predecessor, even if it’s not quite has infectiously catchy and hook-laden. The band has retooled their song-writing approach, fleshing out the individual length of the songs, thus adding a bit more overall depth and structural variety. Otherwise King Parrot’s high octane formula remains intact, blending bursts of violent grind with punked-up thrash, corrosive sludge riffs and festering grooves.

The laidback tongue-in-cheek elements within King Parrot’s music cranks up the fun factor, but musically the band boast some impressive chops as well. Although I will contest Bite Your Head Off holds a slight edge in the riff department, Dead Set is nevertheless a relentlessly vicious feast of guitar driven violence.  The guitar work of Ari White and Andrew Livingstone-Squires is more varied and dynamic this time around, evidenced on songs like “Home is Where the Gutter Is” , where the duo deftly blend tremolo melodies, bluesy doom dirges and sandblasting deathgrind riffs with aplomb.  Matthew Young’s dynamic vocals are likely to remain a sticking point for some listeners but his predominant high pitched shrieks are certainly full of character and delivered with plenty of conviction and off-the-chain aggression. He mixes things up as well through some varied low growls.

“Like a Rat” follows the fiercer, grittier trend of the album but it also harkens back to the catchy short blasts of punk-grind fury and groove executed so effectively on the debut. Songs like the excellent “Tomorrow Turns to Blood” showcase King Parrot’s improved craftsmanship and pacing, taking their music down a deathlier path of tough, grinding riffage and head stomping mid-tempo rhythms. Clearly the band has worked hard on tightening up their song structures and exploring more dynamic song-writing territory. So while the cyclonic speed-laced blasts of “Anthem of the Advanced Sinner” and “Sick in the Head” offer signature bursts of thrashy grind, blast and groove, the slightly restrained and dynamic tempo shifts on closing duo “Reject” and mangled, feedback ridden dirge of the title track display the band’s song-writing growth and eagerness to explore a wider palette of deranged sounds.

Like King Parrot’s debut album, Dead Set is a fun and explosive listen but is not without its flaws. Some of the songs and riffs tend to bleed together, while the suitably dirty and in-your-face production sounds a bit messy at times and is heavily brickwalled. Otherwise King Parrot has navigated the tricky sophomore album with confidence, delivering a blood pumping collection of raw and gritty extreme metal tunes.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
June 18th, 2015

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