||DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN
'Down Among The Dead Men'
The self titled release, 'Down Among The Dead Men', is a collaboration between Dave Ingram (ex-Benediction and Ex-Bolt Thrower) and Rogga Johansson (Ribspreader, Paganizer and Bone Gnawer and more...) two musicians whose work has held me enthralled for many years.
It's also a project that from the moment I heard rumours of its conception, I was pretty confident, would be nothing short of superb. It is in fact a delightfully brutal Metal and Punk crossover, awash with raw Punk energy, blended perfectly with simple, effective riffs for that faultless, harmonious blend of face ripping goodness.
Vocally Dave sounds as good as he did on his very first Benediction album, 1991s 'The Grand Leveller', if not even better with an even richer, brutal edge to his growl. Much of the guitar work has Rogga's unique signature sound about it and I would have been disappointed if it had not. The trio are completed by guitarist Dennis Blomberg (Paganizer), with the drum work covered by session drummer Erik Bevenrud's, who's precision drumming is nothing short of excellent.
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Consisting of thirteen tracks, all short, sharp and to the point, from the shortest at one and a half minutes, the darkly ominous 'Doomsday Manuscript', to the longest, but still compact at just over the three minute mark, the punchy and fast paced 'Adolescence Of Time'.
The intense, exciting pace to opening track, 'Draconian Rage', immediately captures your interest and continues to do so for the next thirty minutes. Next up, 'As Leeches Gorge', has a good guitar break mid way, adding interest, excitement and intensity, also the vocals are powerfully intonated on this track, rising up repeatedly to a scream on the line: "You only consume", this emphasis working to great effect.
If I had not already known who was playing on this album, the signature riff patterns that appear at the one and two minute mark on 'The Epoch' would have announced to me "Rogga is in the building". Classic Rogga excellence.
'Bones Of Contention' is a short sharp and rather splendid battering for the ears. The punchy yet ominous 'Dead Man's Switch' has an excellent guitar opener. 'A Handful Of Dust' is angry, crusty and excellent, brace yourself as the vocals rip through your already trampled and broken remains. 'Infernal Nexus' is exciting, punky and brutal, rendering complete annihilation of the senses in less than two minutes, what a combination!
The intense pace of 'Dead Men Diaries' sweeps you away in the melee. It's very difficult to choose a favourite but 'Venus Mantrap' just has the edge, it's slightly slower paced, about mid tempo and punchy, with some fabulous guitar breaks and is lyrically intriguing, a catchy and very memorable track.
A fast paced track made even more exciting by the three guitar segments set at the beginning, middle and end, on title track 'Down Among The Dead Men' has such a lot packed into just over two minutes. The final track 'The Stones Lament', is another that has the classic Rogga touch to the guitars, an excellent final track.
It could be that I have just found my album of the year, anything that comes after this now has a much higher criterion to meet.
The album will be available from Amazon or Cyclone Empire via http://metal-recycler.de from 22nd November.