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A Sleeping Pill By Another Name - 50%

DeathRiderDoom, June 16th, 2009

Ded Engine - Single

I never really understood the ‘Judas Priest’ comparison that Ded Engine receives a lot from metal fans – I mean – if you listen hard enough, youll find Priest influence, but youll find Priest influence in 70% of metal after British Steel in my opinion, let alone the fact that you can hear almost anything in a band if you go in looking for it. I mean maybe it’s just me but I’m not really hearing it – especially given the major Priest hallmark – the soaring, majestic vocals of the Metal God himself are far from present. Instead you get a rougher, raw and lower delivery by Scot Litz – a passable but by now way Halford comparable effort. The vocals of this guy sound perhaps more like John Bush (Armored Saint) especially during the vocally twinned chorus chants in ‘South of Hell’. Infact, the sound of this band could be considered more comparable to Armored Saint, with it’s rough simplicity, rather than the epic and majestic priest.

This debut release offers listeners a heavy, almost doom-tinged sound. Low sounding guitars that thump along at mid pace with compressed drums, and poorly mixed bass. ‘Renegade; itself is a simple track; riffage relies on a main thumper and a couple of equally simplistic additions going into the lead. It sounds almost like an unimaginative moment from early 80’s era Fast Eddie – providing heaviness – but not dynamics – hence is more likely to put you to sleep, rather than get you bangin’ your head. Vocals are passable, yet a bit boring and totally lacking in passion. It sounds like the album cut must’ve been about the 30th straight take, and Litz was faded and over it. His voice itself isn’t the worst (I’m thinking the vocals of the terrible Vicious Bareka), but he doesn’t deliver with passion In ‘South of Hell’ he might up the passionism a bit – giving us some attitude and evil screams. The chorus is frequently repeated- with the constant vocally twinned “South of hell!” chant being the centerpiece of this low tuned mid pace closer. . In addition, the drawn out bass-focused doomy intro to this track would’ve worked well with more of a dynamic, energetic main body, but instead just mushes into the relative snoozfest of the verses. The guitar offers a spark of energy which is largely drowned out by the annoying, overly simplistic chorus vocal.

Altogether, these guys aim at a heavy, low tuned rockin’ out ness that is usurped by boring, flat production and repetition, as well as some unimaginative riffery. A couple of good guitar touches, and one good vocal shriek aren’t enough to keep you awake, and if driving you’re likely to cause a major pile-up. Now, I haven’t heard either of the full-lengths, so they could have improved things with those, but let me just say that this is the most boring record I’ve heard all week, and is one that’s unlikely to be utilized too often. I bet these guys do pick things up with the albums though – the only place to go from here is up, and surely production can’t get too much worse than the mushy flatness of this outing. Not an advisable record by my standards. Out of my new stuff this week I’d rather go for Hexx’s debut, or the Fatal Violence best of. Don’t ever try and tell me you weren’t warned.

-DeathRiderDoom