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A Russian Thrash Masterpiece - 85%

Kinslayer6, December 1st, 2008

Anyone who knows me knows that I hold Russian thrash metal in very high regard, and this is the band that opened my eyes to what Russia has to offer, musically. Deadxhead are a band from Moscow, Russia, formed in 2004, whom are often said to heavily resemble Megadeth. Considering all the qualities they have in common, aggressive riffery, technical song structures, clever; ripping solos, and a vocalist who sounds just like Dave Mustaine's Russian twin, it's easy to see how one can make this comparison. However, don't let that fool you into thinking Deadxhead are unoriginal, I guarantee you'll have a hard time finding bands that sound quite like them.

The album rips into a soaring, bloodshedding assault with the opening track titled Dead Head. Right from the get-go, Regressive By Default is sheer brutality, with exquisite song writing and complex progressions and rhythmic patterns. The broken english is abit of an obstacle, but are delivered with pinpoint vocal precision, well written lyrics, and catchy hook-lines. But the vocals aren't the only catchy and memorable points of this album, the guitars and bass flow wonderfully with the vocals and the drums, leaving not just vocal melodies, but guitar riffs and drumbeats lodged into your head which leave the listener wanting to come back for more.

The production on the album is superb, despite a couple flaws, most notably the vocals being a little further back into the mix than one would prefer. Despite that, they still manage to find their way to the surface over the hectic and clever instrumentation going on over them, and are not difficult to make out. The guitar tone is crushing and heavy, which gives the audio illusion of the instruments being tuned down a whole step. This isn't the case, and they are certainly in the standard tuning, Which just goes to show; lower isn't always heavier. Another rarely treaded road in thrash metal, is the use of acoustic and clean guitar work. The mix of melody and technical brutality is occasionally wonderfully complimented by a nice acoustic passage, or in the case of the song Time To Go Away, having synth work or piano accompanying and emphasizing the songs.

The guitar work on this album shows absolute mastery and passion for the evolution and progression of thrash metal. Intricate riffs and rhythms are often accompanied with complex runs and fretboard gymnastics as the song rages on like a runaway train on a crash course to bloodshed. With the addition of leadwork, often including both guitarists dueling back and forth and showcasing their skill over their instruments while the rhythms under them are constantly changing - this album shows a form of musicianship uncommon in the thrash bands to come out within the same timeline as them, and gives off a chaotic, but controlled feeling that will satisfy any fan of evolving thrash metal.

In conclusion, this album is incredible, and a slap in the face for the 'thrash revival' scene. To those who think thrash is dead and deserves to be revived seriously needs to check out this album, and it will show you how wrong it is. Thrash isn't dead at all, it's just changing into a better, more developed style that focuses not only on aggression and speed, but now showcases incredible musicianship and passion. I have yet to be disappointed by a Russian band, but one things for sure, Deadxhead are still among the best from this wonderful Country. I recommend picking this album up if you see it, as it's a rare gem with incredible songwriting - despite the occasional hit-or-miss track. I am definitely be looking forward to their next release.