Raw and grim, but a whole lot of fun
Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) based band The Dead are proving themselves to be quite the prolific outfit, with their latest effort Ritual Executions emerging in less than a year since their last release, namely 2008’s Nocturnal Funeral E.P.
Following on in similar fashion to their previous effort, the group’s second full-length album Ritual Executions was recorded over a two day period, with the band themselves (comprising of vocalist Mike Yee, guitarist/bassist Adam Keleher and drummer Chris Morse) and Portal rhythm guitarist Aphotic Mote handling the recording/mixing.
As expected, Ritual Executions follows a similar path laid down by the trio on their last effort, with the album’s seven compositions more of the same raw and primitive death metal that we’ve come to expect from the band in recent times.
Despite starting off with a slow pace, the rather lengthy Burn Your Dead manages to keep the listener hooked with its crushing heaviness and equally heavy riffing. But while there’s a bit of repetition throughout its expansive eight minute running length, the band do keep things a little more interesting with the odd tempo change and change of direction.
The follow up track Cannibal Abattoir is not only one of the fastest, but also one of the album’s shortest. But while the song itself is good, a lot of the band’s dynamics are a little lost with the song’s thick production (which sounds more akin to a blanket of sheer buzz than anything else), and therefore doesn’t quite stand out as much as it could have.
The mid-paced Centurion sees a return to the sound of the opening track in terms of production values (which while isn’t necessarily perfect, at least it’s better), allowing the aggression to shine through a little more, while The Dead experiment a little with a stripped back guitar/drum sound in a few places within Born in a Grave, which allows a little more variation than what’s normally delivered from the band.
The chaotic angular notes and relentless assault of the title track Ritual Executions is an album highlight, while the demonic drive of Blood Angel and the hypnotic/melodic appeal of the lengthy instrumental closer Death Metal Suicide are further favourites found on the album.
Although the production is a little uneven, and the fact that the album is a limited release (only one hundred copies of the album are available), Ritual Executions is another solid release from The Dead, and one that certainly won’t tarnish the band’s reputation as an unholy trio with monolithic sound capabilities.