Once Dead
Visions of Hell

Any album more than two years in the making has the daunting task of living up to the expectations of those fans who are eagerly awaiting it. For California thrashers Once Dead, this will be no easy task. The lineup alone, with former/current members of cult icons Hirax and Vengeance Rising, is enough to raise a few eyebrows and whet a few appetites. How does Visions Of Hell stand up to all this pressure? Well, let me tell you.

First off, this is 36 minutes of old school Thrash Metal with new school, Lamb Of God styled vocals. Some would count the scant 36 minute playing time against the band, but remember that some of the most classic albums in Metal and Rock history barely cracked the half hour mark. The tones are raw and in your face. The guitars, to coin a well worn phrase amongst reviewers, really are like buzz-saws with strong riffs and tons of energy. The drums are loud and frenzied and carry everything along like a tornado. “The Contract”, “Body Parts”, “Rise Above”, “Defy Man” and the title track are all timeless Thrash Metal classics, to be sure. There are plenty of shredding, wah-pedal solos, gang shout vocals and subsequent neck straining to be had. The only downfall to this album is the production quality. As I said, the tones are raw, but raw is not the problem. The mix itself is uneven, muddy and inconsistent. The lows are too “boomy” and the highs are too “tinny”. From song to song tones and levels will even change slightly highlighting the staggered recording sessions. If I’m honest, it sounds more like a demo made by a bunch of newbies than an official release made by professionals.

All in all though, on a musical level, this is Thrash Metal at it should be…loud, aggressive and played with fury. DIY sound quality aside, fans of the genre should find plenty to enjoy. Grab the CD, pop it in the player…just be sure to adjust the EQ settings before cranking it up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
November 24th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Staylow

    This sounds awesome. Will have to check it out ASAP. Thanks for the nice read Shawn!

  2. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    No problem man…it’s cool stuff.

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