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The Dead - Ritual executions re-release - 70%

Phuling, October 22nd, 2010

I’d never heard of The Dead before, and I assume I’m not the only one. But Australian’s have a knack for creating some of the most vicious and obscure extreme metal around, and with bands like Guild of Destruction and Disentomb coming seemingly from out of nowhere and just clomping me to bloody mush, it’s difficult to not get your hopes up for The Dead. This is a re-release of their second album, previously limited to 100 copies. It’s the first release of a brand new label run by Kunal of Diabolical Conquest Webzine, and I’m sure he’s taken his sweet time finding the right band for the job. So yet another thing insures high hopes for Ritual executions.

It doesn’t take long before your realize this is far from your standard set of death metal riffs, the first few minutes of the opening track Burn your dead tells you that. As the eight minutes worth of ultra-heavy, sludge-ridden death ends, and we move on into Cannibal abattoir, the stoner influences becomes almost overwhelming. Jazzy, highly unorthodox drum patterns briefly take the front seat, only abruptly interrupted by the utterly obscure and murky death metal that still remains the core of the sound. It’s difficult not to feel a somewhat similarity to Autopsy, considering the blending of stoner and death, but it still doesn’t really fit the bill to perfection. Take a dose of Coffins, Electric Wizard, Father Befouled and the general ferocity of Aussie metal with Ignivomous and the previously mentioned Guild of Destruction, and you’re at least a little wiser.

The only real moment of blasting, where the death metal is exclusively in the driver’s seat, is during Born in a grave, which houses a much faster tempo than the remainder of material. But not even during this blaster are we free from psychedelic stoner, as the mangle is halted by an unorthodox use of drum patterns. Vocally it doesn’t get any saner either, as the extremely harsh and deep grunting of Mike Yee sounds far from anything I’ve ever heard before, and sounds more like a troll who’s got something stuck in his throat than an ordinary death metal growl. And it fits the general ugliness and rawness that is Ritual executions. There’s not a moment that’s not infested with a sense of real murky obscurity, not only thanks to the versatile material, but also production-wise. Psychedelic, doomy, sludgy stoner death metal isn’t normally a term I’d use to describe a band’s sound, but based on this album I don’t really know how else to describe The Dead. It’s certainly not for the meek, that’s for sure.

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