Irish-based band Dead Label released this EP, Anthology, in April 2021 as something of a stop gap between albums. Their last album, Throne Of Bones, was released in 2016, and the band are said to be working on a new full length release.
Anthology is a ferocious slab of heavy metal, pulling no punches and paying little regard to nuances. The title track, Dead Weight, opens proceedings and progresses at an almost frantic pace. The music itself is quite angular at times with energetic shifts, near tribal rhythms and remains relentless. This is a typical pattern for all the songs, which are brim-full of energy and drive. There’s no let up, the band not being reluctant to smear themselves in Death Metal tropes. The song titles and lyrics are quite dark and depressive – Dead Weight, Pure Chaos, False Messiah, titles that need little explanation.
Then we come to the vocals and the old Marmite Test. Depending how you view the “Honey Monster” style of vocalising will affect your enjoyment of this release. There’s no singing as such, just the demonic rages that many may find annoying and, well, juvenile. Which is a pity really, as there’s some interesting music going on here that needs to be heard above the frenzied guttural wailing of a wraith. Some of the pieces could have worked well as instrumentals and more interplay between the instruments might have been more interesting.
This is very powerful music within its field, but you have the feeling the band is very much limiting its appeal to its known audience and genre. The more casual listener might appreciate the energy of the players and the sheer heaviness of the sound, but the savage bleakness of it all might even make Roger Waters blanch.
This is a good release, though somewhat shackled to its field.
1. Dead Weight
2. Pure Chaos
5. False Messiah
6. Dystopian Complex
Date: 9th April 2021
Dan O’Grady Vocals/Bass
Claire Percival Drums
Danny Hall Guitars
Mick Hynes Guitars