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Hailing from Sussex, Deadman’s Blood is a one man project by Matt Bass who plays filthy, rotted, and decayed-sounding death metal heavily influenced by the Swedish death metal bands as well as American genre pioneers, Autopsy. This EP sounds as nasty as the artwork (exclusively by Kam Lee) would suggest, and Brian Werking’s serial killer scribble on the wall solos further add to the horrific and terrifying atmosphere of this release.
Songwriting appears to be an art somewhat forgotten by many a "new school" death metal band, but Deadman's Blood, playing in the old style, do not forget to ensure every single chorus is hooky and catchy. The vocal guest appearances of Kam Lee and Mike Browning add to the chant-along feel of every track, and the sinister riffs created by Matt are as crushing and brutal as mallet smashed over the head.
With lyrics focusing on the undead and their petrifying and repulsive antics, all the lines are as equally vile and disturbing as the sickening symphonies they accompany. This foul, four track beast is an evil force not to be messed with and is not likely to become popular with those who think love and puppies make good lyrical subjects, but for all you who love death metal as nasty and blood caked-sounding as it gets, this release is for you.
I guess some of you may be familiar with that English chap Matt Bass, who runs his youtube review show and also plays in a couple of metal projects: black metal Witchclan and old school death metal Deadman’s Blood. With the latter he was announcing the release of a second demo for quite a while and so finally by the end of 2012 “Product of a Deranged Mind” was released. Having a guest appearance of three legendary US death metal musicians, this was not suppose to be just yet another demo, but something more extraordinary… at least this is how I imagined it to be. The reality is a bit different, as after listening to the demo I must confess that my anticipation was bigger and in the end the material turned out to be quite average, but surely it is good enough to give it few occasional spins once in a while. So, please don’t get prejudiced right off. But before we talk about the music, I must ask Matt about something what really annoys me in his approach to his band. This is something what I meet with quite often nowadays and what really pisses me off, I mean why someone would actually limit the demo material of his band? Where are the times, when bands have copied hundreds or even thousands of copies of their demos and have been sending / trading / selling them to whoever wanted? Not to forget about sending a necessary quantity to the zines or labels… Nowadays – and that is also the case with Deadman’s Blood – there are 100 copies or even less and no more. Nothing would be provided for promotion, nothing for everybody interested… What I noticed that that often it’s sort of making an artificial cult and elitism, which is equally pathetic and funny as it is unnecessary. Why so many bands do that nowadays? Maybe Matt can answer me this? I really see no point. And I’m not even gonna start on the idea of selling mp3 files of your demo on iTune or wherever, because that is just beyond my comprehension. For that some underground orthodox maniacs can crucify Deadman’s Blood straight away hehe! But that is Mat Bass’ idea for his band, fine, I just totally don’t agree with it, to be honest.
Let’s move forward though and listen to some metal, shall we? Speaking just about the musical content of “Product of a Deranged Mind” I can say that I more or less liked what I’ve listened to. Deadman’s Blood performs old school, archaic death metal, but definitely Matt has composed some cool riffs and had some good ideas to use for the demo. And so the first song, “The Knife (Will Cut You Deeper)”, is definitely the most energetic and fastest track from the whole demo. It is really cool; great groovy riffing to bang your head, some more melodic parts here and there plus the infectious, catchy chorus part… All those attributes will make you remember this track most from all four songs from the demo. I can also say that style wise it reminds me Bone Gnawer most, but there are also some similarities to the Swedish death metal and bands like Puteraeon, Entrails, Interment, so definitely a worthy recommendation. I think this song includes Kam Lee’s guest vocal contribution, so it’s really cool (he’s also responsible for the artwork of the demo!). Then the following three songs would focus mainly (but not only) on slower tempo, with more of that Autopsy worship of rotten, morbid, cryptic sound and overall atmosphere. “House of Horrors” is standing out here as the most interesting I guess, but I cannot say there is anything wrong about “Zombie Creeping Flesh” (is the title influenced by that gory horror movie from 1980???) or “Can’t Escape the Butchery” neither, as both are also solid and good songs. I like some of these riffs, Brian Werking did excellent job with his guitar leads and the vocals are just sick!
After listening to “Product of a Deranged Mind” I would need to point out a couple of things, which I see to be improved next time; if of corpse I can only suggest anything. The songwriting doesn’t leave much to be wished for, it is solid and fine, but maybe the songs are slightly too long and thus they lack a bit of that straight forward attitude. Then the production of the demo is the matter, which I would need to discuss most. I mean, the sound is not bad, it is OK, definitely the demo got a good mastering, but still I sometimes have some slight doubts for that drum machine, also the guitar sound is sometimes little bit weird. Most of all though, I totally don’t like the way bass guitar sounds on this demo. I don’t know whether the mixing fucked it up or what, but it’s one of the very few cases, when the bass guitar sound has actually been annoying me constantly all the way through listening to the demo. I actually had to take some bass off my stereo, to make this instrument less audible and thus less irritating. I’m not sure how should I describe this sound exactly, so maybe listen to it yourself and try to find the words for it, for me the production of “Product of a Deranged Mind” is definitely the weakest point of the demo. There’s too much of that “bedroom band”, mechanical kind of feeling, with fucked up bass guitar and not enough of plain and simple arse kicking nuclear energy of killer death metal.
Matt Bass is back after Halloween 2011'a demo with an EP. I can't say too much about the demo because I don't own it (only 30 copies were pressed), but I do know from hearing one promo track that it was a slab of classic death metal in the style of good ol' bands like Carnage, Nihilist, Therion, etc.
This EP is in a similar vein, but executed with a bit more originality and stronger songwriting. The songs are longer but they don't drag on at all. The drums aren't mixed quite as loud as they were on the 2011 demo. Which brings me to the production, courtesy of Brian Werking of Ex Mortiis infamy. The production is a lot darker this time around. It feels like there's a bit more room for the instruments to breathe and come into their own.
The four songs, as I said, are a little on the long side, which separates Deadman's Blood from their punk-encrusted Swedish counterparts. The length feels very necessary to the songs. The best use of length is "House of Horrors," which really adds to the creepy atmosphere. It's as if the front cover has come to life, especially if you pay attention to the lyrics.
The guitar tone is something that really fascinates me on this album, culminating with the doomy, almost, dare I say, stoner-ish riffs on "House of Horrors." It's as crunchy and blood-soaked as Entombed were on Left Hand Path, but the guitar tone here still remains unique in a way, almost ethereal in its fuzz. Matt's vocals are guttural and more lower than anything L-G Petrov or Matt Kärki. It's as low as a growl can go while still enunciating the lyrics.
One really important feature that differentiates this EP from the demo, or three features, I should say, is the guest appearances of Brian Werking on lead guitar, and Kam Lee and Mike Browning on backing vocals. You'll know when those guys come in; they're really distinct and playing on every song. This is the strongest point of the album and makes it stand out as one of the greatest releases of the recent bygone 2012.
The only thing that doesn't stand out is the bass. I think I hear it from time to time but it's not prominent. No complaints, though, as the focus is guitar and vocals.
Overall, for fans of the Swedish death metal sound who may be looking for something a little more unique than an Entombed clone, I would say get this. There are only 100 copies pressed, but if you're lucky you may be able to get it. Otherwise, iTunes and Amazon carry it for download.