2015 has really seen a rise in the return of the dark side in rock, with a slew of bands such as Ashestoangels, The Acid Ballet, Creeper and Farewell, My Love taking the UK music scene by storm. With this new wave of bands placed under the freely flying flag of ‘New Grave‘, The Dead XIII find themselves falling into the same category (which is handy, seeing as they’ve not long been off of a UK tour with Ashestoangels and Farewell, My Love). Heavy, ferocious and dark, this goth quintet are up and running with the big guns of horror-rock, giving legends of the scene such as Rob Zombie and The Misfits a run for their money. With new album ‘Catacombs‘ we find forty-five minutes of synth infused, heavy hitting metal-madness blasting from our speakers. Let’s take a closer look shall we?
Kicking off the insanity with ‘XIII‘, it’s clear that prisoners are not being taken here. Furious guitar riffery blends in with some truly ferocious synthesizers, roaring vocal screams and drums that pound into the listener so hard that even Ron Jeremy would be put to shame. It’s an example in how music can be truly terrifying, a lesson which many ‘horror’ based bands could learn a lot from.
‘Daemons‘ takes the creepy factor up a notch, bringing in a clear helping of influences from Type O Negative and Slipknot, with the former adding a coating of eerie electronic sounds which glide across a cornucopia of the most fast and furious musicianship. This is followed straight up by ‘Catacombs‘ which makes for one hell of a two track attack, yet the slightly awkward transition between it’s fast-paced and brutal first half and it’s more dramatic and atmospheric second half does somewhat spoil the overall duo of excellence. The strange thing about it is that it sounds as if it has the potential to be an excellent live tool (particularly if it were extended by another minute), but as a studio release, something just doesn’t feel right and it’s tough to put a finger on what.
‘Be-Were’ is another stand-out track, with the earlier mentioned sounds of Rob Zombie being in full throttle here, with some Pantera style cowboy flavour. Crushing rhythms and lots of attitude make up for a sizzling anthem for a new generation dressed in black. If ever any of the team at MOSH became wrestlers, this would be out entrance music – it just screams out for heaps of over the top pyrotechnic action.
Closing track ‘Apothesis‘ returns to the atmospheric, ghoulish tones earlier established in the second act of ‘Catacombs’. Soaked in the sounds of pained desperation, it’s a dramatic close to an album that can be described as nothing if not almost exhaustingly powerful. The nearly two minute introduction of restrained sounds effects and sweeping noise does drag on a little too long for comfort, becoming a small spoiler to what is an otherwise excellently executed ending. If ‘XIII‘ was the sound of the guillotine falling upon its victim, then ‘Apothesis‘ is the sound of the bodies soul being dragged down to hell. Bar the occasional awkward moment, this is a must-buy for those who live in the darker side of life