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Well I'm Down with these Dead Men - 83%

Sevenchurch, March 14th, 2014

The main dead men we are down amongst here are Dave 'Bolt Thrower Benediction' Ingram and Rogga 'Paganizer, Ribspreader', Johansson, ably abetted by fellow Paganizer and Ribspreader Dennis Blomberg and with studio drummer Erik R Bevenrud. And what might these assembled gentlepersons sound like? Fucking noisy.

The vocals are pretty unmistakable as the album drops like a nailbomb with 'Draconian Rage', but the skeleton here is very much of the crust punk variety. Yes of course death metal pumps through its relentlessly rumbling veins, but the riff structure is built up on that driving, buzzing crust. There is something wonderfully gnarled and rattling about this album despite the talent and the cool tight production, or probably because of both. I guess they all just captured the energy and the vibe perfectly. It pretty much starts as it means to go on: They just kind of crank the warbeast up with an absolute clatter of drums and "iron fisted spite" and off it goes, destroying everything in its path. One gear but plenty of interesting terrain, many rolling lurches and grunt shifts.

Subjects range from history, war and the occult to (I think!) Dr Who. Huh? Yeah, the final drum powered battering is 'The Stones' Lament' which appears to be about the Weeping Angels. Add in Satanic witches and nuclear destruction and more time travel and we are having good serious fun here.

Such a tight band too and the drumming has been captured perfectly: Just listen to the thunder inside 'The Epoch' as an example. It gives such a solid base for these excellent downtuned riffs to hammer on. Lead breaks screech out like shrapnel with sharp enough degrees to hook you and keep you engaged right to the end. 'Venus Mantrap' even adds a satisfying sense of melancholy as it tails off.

Some aspects of this album remind me of Uncoffined; not in a musical sense, but in the attitude that rolls from every rolling riff and drum assault of guys having a riot and instead of sounding old school it just sounds damned exciting. Thirteen tracks, maybe half an hour of music, is a perfect length for this stuff. Fans of any of these guys other bands should give thus a listen as it should be a dead cert, but anyone with a hankering for a bit of death crust should walk on in.

Relentless, rattling, rust encrusted crust punk goodness: Down Among The Dead Men slams in, gives you a going over, reverses over the body and leaves.

Really just all kinds of cool.

Previously published at www.Avenoctum.com

A vicious assault - 65%

Andromeda_Unchained, February 14th, 2014

Crusty Death Metal is very much en vogue, and here we have some well-established musicians dishing out the virulent hatred in Down Among The Dead Men. Featuring the mighty Dave Ingram, Rogga Johansson and his Paganizer/ Ribspreader bandmate Dennis blomberg you can be assured of the quality here, and these guys put out all the stops, very rarely taking their feet off the accelerator.

I will admit that I was expecting the overall sound here to be a little more booming, and I'm surprised the low end isn't too prominent. Still, this is without a doubt very heavy, with plenty of dirty Scandinavian Death Metal riffs, loads of d-beat, and of course blast beats. Dave sounds great as ever and really commands the material throughout. The majority of the tracks average around two minutes, which is ideal for the sound, and never overstay their welcome; just rushing in, viciously assaulting you, and then moving on.

Numbers like "A Handful Of Dust" or the opening salvo of "Draconian Rage" are seriously fucking badass, and whilst some may be tiring of type this of fare, I'm always keen to tune in, wreck my neck and tune out. As such I can't imagine this would be an album you'd spin regularly. It no doubt does the job whilst playing, but afterwards doesn't leave all that much of a lasting impression. Nonetheless, this would make perfect listening after a bad day at work, or an argument with the wife/girlfriend/partner. This is the musical equivalent of a nail-spiked fist relentlessly pounding anything in its way into mush, and if that sounds interesting to you, then you should totally check these guys out. Not amazing or anything, but a load of fun to listen to.

Written for http://www.metalcrypt.com

A Venomous Mixture of Crust and Death Metal - 90%

dystopia4, February 13th, 2014

Above all else, Down Among the Dead Men rip. This album comes in with a wallop of blistering uncompromised fury and never really lets up. Spewing venomous chunks of vitriol, this self titled debut is a definite scorcher. They’ve come on to a good thing with their muscular mix of death metal and crust punk. With just thirty minutes for thirteen raging songs, this record never has time to grow tiresome. Although there’s not a huge amount of variation between tracks, the highly capable songwriting and on point riffs are definitely enough to carry this.

Down Among the Dead Men features a familiar cast of characters. Most notably, it features Dave Ingram, who handled vocals for Benidiction and was brought in for a brief stint in Bolt Thrower. Also in the lineup is the prolific-to-a-fault Rogga Johansson, who appears to perform in at least a quarter of mediocre Swedish death metal bands. This is one of the projects where he’s seemed to hit a rare home run. The production is essential to allowing them to come out swinging. It’s big, relatively thick and allows the riffs to truly beat down in a glorious fury. It should be noted that although these guys consistently sound angry, they are not completely opposed to dropping down to a more moderate pace.

Stylistically, this is a pretty even mix of death metal and crust punk. This draws from countless crust classics, but one of the lesser known bands these dudes seem to take influence from is Resistant Culture (minus the Native American influences, obviously). For death metal, it also draws from a lot of the classics and more than anything goes for the huge riffs. The occasional solo (these tend to be more varied than the rest of the record) does creep in. The drums are straightforward and unrelenting. The throaty growls are strong, although not completely unintelligible. Songwriting is not glossed over at all here. In this area they draw perhaps a bit more from the crust punk side of things. “As Leeches Gorge” is a spectacular success on this front.

Mashing up crust and death metal is a killer idea, and one that more bands should try their hand in it. Down among the Dead Men go for the simpler approach and just let it rip in a display of unrepentant violence. They rush straight towards the jugular and refuse to relinquish pressure. They do one thing, but they do it well and without compromise. This is a successful album in a very interesting mix of styles.

Originally written for The Metal Observer.