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Red Dead - Forest of Chaos - 93%

Edmund Sackbauer, February 6th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Great Dane Records (Digipak)

Red Dead are another great example of the growing roster of French death metal specialists Great Dane Records. They have already released their first full length titled “Therapy of the Evil” which offered a rough but charming slab of old school death metal but I think it is safe to say that everything is bigger, better and more professional on album number two “Forest of Chaos”.

Red Dead play a quite tradition but also slightly technical branch of death metal. There are some blast-beat sections combined with heavy hitting riffs and some very sick soloing. The instrumentation is really spectacular here. Drummer Tony deserves a special mention as he is a real beast working his ass off behind the kit. He keeps the speed high but also knows when to slow things down a bit to take a breath before the next relentless attack. His fills and breaks never feel unnecessary but well placed throughout each song.

The guitar playing offers a nice combination of traditional death metal riffs akin to some famous US bands but there is also a certain Swedish vibe with the classic buzz-sawing guitar tone embedded within the soundscape. Names like Obituary, Benediction or Grave come to mind but Red Dead are not just copy cats. You will find the typical stoic chords as well as choppy riffs and sections where the rhythm and the tempo varies within a very short timeframe. It speaks for the songwriting skills of the band that this kind of elements never feel overly chaotic but make sense looking at the bigger picture of the songs and the whole album. The rhythms are always groovy and even in the more sophisticated sections the patterns seem well structured and each break is there for a reason. In the end the most emphasis has been put on creating easily enjoyable and groovy songs.

Despite the relentless and aggressive sound there are catchy and atmospheric moments and some of the hooks are going to stick with the listener after the second or third spin. Harmonies that seem a bit disjointed at first work as transition elements before the trademark chords of the respective song are repeated again.

Singer Roolet also has done a great job on “Forest of Chaos”. His low register tone is perfectly harmonizing with the instrumentation and his delivery is top notch and very intense. Each word is easily understandable despite the deep growling style.

The production is brutal and filthy lending the music just enough rawness to satisfy any fan of old school death metal. The guitars are crunchy and the drums have that slightly steely sound giving the whole affair an extra portion of punchiness. Overall this album sounds a lot more powerful than its predecessor. With an atmospheric cover artwork this record should be of interest for any fan of traditional and heavy music and for me personally this is one of the first death metal highlights of 2020.