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The old school heavy metal pride of my hometown - 95%

DesecratorJ, January 11th, 2019

As a little background, in the province of Quebec in Canada, the most known metal band has always been Voivod, which are from my hometown, Jonquière. As a young Metallica/Iron Maiden fan boy, I did not even know shit about these guys until they came to a free music festival called "Jonquière en Musique" in July 2009. Back then, when the band was announced to perform, my own parents that don't even listen to metal told me about them. Kind of surprised, a friend and my 14 years old self decided to go see them as my first metal show in my life. I did not realized at that time that seeing a free Voivoid gig was special, but it was, and particularly this one memorial show. Voivod as the headliner of that evening, the opener happened to be a 80s classic heavy metal band also from Jonquière called Death Dealer. It was their first live performance in many years and they really kicked asses, just to say the least. The compilation album reviewed here is basically a re-release of their original 1983 demo, recorded at the University of our region, Saguenay. The band really had bad lucks through the 80s, including a name change, label issues that prevented them from releasing records and stuff. Despite having been in shitty situations, these guys produced material worthy of being praised as much as more popular bands out there.

Since the material dates from 1983, this demo is probably one of the first heavy metal release from Quebec. What surprised me the most at first was how length this demo is, there are 15 tracks for just over an hour of playtime. To me, the music featured on this recording does not sound like it was just a demo, the production work is incredible and it sounds even better than some full-length albums. The instruments are all on point, and the mix is totally awesome since we can hear everything perfectly, especially that amazing bass domination. The guitars from the duet Brassard/Pednault obviously sounds raw and old school, which is excellent as well as having a good kicking drum. Vocal wise, I did not expect anything better from a 80s local heavy metal band. They are high-pitched, but not too much, and singer Andy Larouche could also at times have an aggressive tone, thus adding intensity on choruses for example. In general, the band basically had the perfect line-up, musicianship and writing skills to come up with kick ass stuff.

Someone who is used to the NWOBHM bands and sound will find great enjoyment in listening to Death Dealer. Their influence is pretty obvious to notice, and as someone who was nearly only listening to Iron Maiden back when I first heard these guys, they made it to my playlist instantly. Generally, the music is quite mid-paced with a lot of great melodic passages, guitar riffs and solos. The tracks length average the three or four minutes and mostly all go straight to the point without messing around. Of course, the great aspect on this demo is the variety in this bunch of tracks. One could think that many songs like that on a record would mean that some of them are similar, but fortunately for us, it is not, the material is original and still feels fresh to the ears up to these days.

On a more specific analysis of this demo, there are of course some particularly exceptional moments that shine above the rest of the material featured on it, despite my disliking of none of the tracks at all. Myself being quite an old school speed metal fan as well, I am still greatly served here because of their flirting with the genre by being more fast and aggressive on some songs. Such sample can be heard in tracks like "Overshoot", "Far and Away" or "We Can't Come Back". Well, as soon as this record starts with "Sherry", you can already have a great idea of what Death Dealer was all about. Some impressive guitar playing is displayed in "The Faddist" and especially the amazing track chosen as the title for the compilation "Coercion to Kill". As intense as most songs are, even the slower ones such as "Occident Tale" and "Just Until the Day" has something cool to offer like great melodies and vocal performances. To add up to the awesomeness of that release, the whole thing is mostly catchy as fuck. The groovy "Under to Over", the heavy band self-titled song "Death Dealer" and the bass killer "You Said Rock" made their way through my head and got stuck in there for a long time.

I can't seem to find something negative to say about that release to be quite honest. It just sounds flawless to my ears, and I am more than proud that it comes from my hometown. Death Dealer, or the renamed Deaf Dealer has been my favorite metal band from Quebec since I discovered them 10 years ago in that live show. Unfortunately, they never got the attention they really deserved in the metal scene and stayed in the underground. Useless to say how much I recommend everyone that are into old school heavy metal, speed metal or NWOBHM to give this a listen. Their material as Deaf Dealer is also worthy of being looked at, especially the 1987 masterpiece "Journey Into Fear" album. If Voivod represented the thrash metal, this band should have been the one for classic heavy metal.

Favorite tracks:

Coercion To Kill
Death Dealer
The Faddist
Far And Away
Overshoot
Under To Over
We Can't Come Back
You Said Rock