If you can’t wait till Halloween for your next dose of spookiness, then we have the next best thing for you – the latest album ‘Dark Days’ from The Dead XIII. Featuring Kurt Blackshard on vocals,
Symon Strange on Guitar/ Synth, Ste Mahoney on Lead Guitar, Paul Ryan on Bass and Spike Owen on Drums the deadly gothic-sludge quintet continue to lead the charge in the UK Horror Metal scene.
Track one, ‘Bloodlines’ could rival that of Pendulum and Motionless In White from the very first opening notes. Instantly you are introduced to exactly what this band are all about – spooks and hooks to put it simply. Blackshard is reminiscent from Andreas Bergh from The Deathstars upon first listen – and it’s not just all good synth and vocals either as a sleazy guitar solo is also laid down by Ste Mahoney. Album namesake track, ‘Dark Days’ quickly follows up and like a ride on a ghost train manages to be both unsettling and exciting all at once. The same electro hallmarks are present here too – just like a good possession – although a bit more Manson-esque in feel with plenty of punch from the guitars and drums.
As the ‘Last Stand’ opens, listeners are treated to a scream from the bowels of Hell and some blast beats on the drums. This then transcends into a swaying call to arms for everything weird and wonderful! This track will most definitely appeal to fans of The Defiled. Man, this band channel so many good bands in their sound all at once! ‘Killers’ than grabs the audience by the auditory balls (You can just imagine how incredible this would sound live!) for a bit of circle-pit action which features some nice chord progressions and a whaling solo. Each track feels like it goes past in a moment and leaves you wanting more.
‘The Fallen’ provides a softer beginning than previous tracks, but don’t let that fool you as it escalates quickly managing to blend the power-house drumming with plenty of djent breakdowns. You can already hear the audiences cry of “Hey!” between them. A fist pumping track with many layers and great production throughout, with an ethereal eerie ending. Beautiful! Preceded by ‘Vigil’ this marks the halfway-ish point in the album with an instrumental solo which wouldn’t be out of place on the new Halloween soundtrack. With a sombre piano playing throughout backed by some synth waves and some tribal drumming, it all adds real feeling and emotion to this short interval track.
‘Angels’ although titled fairly innocently, is not the innocuous track you might think. Definitely one you can see yourself popping in the car stereo and putting your foot down to just ever so slightly…Again, you’ve got to note the incredible production on this album with every single instrument sounding crystal clear throughout. Which leads us nicely down to hell for track eight, ‘Play Hell’. Like The Sticky Wall or Wall Of Death, this is reminiscent of a fairground where you’re flung in all directions – a real adrenaline fuelled tune!
‘Insomnia’ as the title suggests, has an almost dream-like feel to it. With an ambient chorus this juxtaposes the Nu Metal/ Rob Zombie vibe found in the verses. A nice blend of texture with rough and smooth.
I know, I know – we’ve said it before but ‘Redemption’ really channels that Motionless In White vibe to the max. Although, it’s worth noting this isn’t just a lift from a band that inspires them. The Dead XIII manage to successfully blend so many bands and musical genres together in their music throughout this album. It’s what keeps the listener interested throughout and it’s how these chaps have managed to become one of the biggest acts in their genre.
‘Curtain Call’ is in fact the second to last song on ‘Dark Days’, not the last as you might assume when listening. Another instrumental piece, completely different in its mood to the last, signifies it’s time for this band to come back, take a bow and give the listener one last song and creates plenty of suspense for closer ‘From Beyond’ to take center stage. With heavy and driven riffs throughout, raspy vocals and behemoth sized drums this tune has the listener on the edge of their seat from the get-go. A fantastic ender that truly emerged from the other side, this album burns up like a ball of fire.
All we can say is listen to this album, you will not be disappointed. At all. An ideal replacement if you’ve forgotten your coffee on your way to work on a Monday morning.
Dark Days will be released on 9th February.
Catch them on tour supporting Doyle:
26 Mar: Asylum 2, Birmingham, UK
27 Mar: Redrum, Stafford, UK
28 Mar: Factory, Manchester, UK
29 Mar: Cathouse, Glasgow, UK
30 Mar: Church, Dundee, UK
31 Mar: Corporation, Sheffield, UK
1 Apr: Parish, Huddersfield, UK
2 Apr: Bierkeller, Bristol, UK
3 Apr: Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham, UK
4 Apr: Hobo’s, Bridgend, UK
5 Apr: The Hub, Plymouth, UK
6 Apr: Cobblestones, Bridgwater, UK
7 Apr: The Lounge, London, UK
Check out the band at the links below: