Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Dead Gods - A Prayer For Hell

Well, boys and girls, grab your silver bullets and wooden stakes, because Maryland's very own Dead Gods have come straight from your nightmares to rip apart your virgin ears (and souls) with this debut. If you follow this blog, and my (Connor) reviews, you know that I'm a sucker for dark hardcore, and sweet, unholy Christ, ladies and gents: this is about as dark as it gets. Labeled by the infamous A389 records as "Baltimore's Sons of Evil," Dead Gods is out for blood, and you better be damn sure they're going to get yours, too.

I want to punch a hole in this Starbucks barista's face as I'm writing this:

"Fallout" - Bands, I can't say this enough: feedback is the quickest way to my heart, and once again, a band has made their way into this blackened dungeon. Dead Gods begin this aural assault with a slow death of anxious drums and maniacal feedback before plunging into an uber-heavy verse that would make any fan of The Banner or Ringworm shit their pants (I've spent $30 on underwear during this review). Taking an expected (but welcome) turn, they kick up the drums, initiating the most raucous circle pit imaginable... But only for a moment, before dropping back into a spine-crushing ender, "There is no progress, no salvation, we're better off dead."

"I.V" - "I.V" is a pleasant, if not masturbatory, instrumental that features Dead Gods at their most self-destructive: Purple Mercy-esque stoner riff solos over top of dropped, heavy bass and rhythm and ending with the most irritating (I use this as a compliment), grating feedback I've ever heard on an album. Right on.

"Baptized In Lies" - Like "Raining Blood" slowed down to Holy Terror speeds, this intro sets the mood for the track before plunging boot-first into a Birth Is Pain-era Ringworm-influenced verse, chugging along like a steam engine train, with every snare hit like a body on the rails. This is a must-love for any fan of hardcore/metal/anything.

"Jesus Loved Me All Night" - Going to be honest, boys, didn't quite vibe with this track. Musically, it's incredible. Dark, heavy, fast, everything I love; but, lyrically, I just... didn't get it. It seemed like this wasn't actually anti-Christ in nature, but almost bordered on sociopathy. If I'm off-base, please set me straight, but this track just left me a little confused. And it's probably just me. Musically though, like everything else on this album, I dug it 110%. Great, to-the-point thrasher.

"Forever Down" - This track is another certified banger, coming from the same school as Holy Terror, and with horrifying lyrics that are darker than the inside of a casket. Kick ass. Alternating with a heavy beginning, and a stoner solo ending, this is a nice journey through the Dead Gods repertoire; beautiful sampling. Now, go put on your black-out contact lenses and snap your neck headbanging.

"10:48" - A shorter track, like "Jesus Loved Me All Night," this song rips through 46 seconds of ungodly fury, with crunching guitars, well-placed, and raspy vocals belting out terror. Loved it. And you will too.

"Zero" - Like "Fallout," this song starts out with my favorites: bass and feedback over drums. Groovy, dark bass, like Trash Talk's from their self-titled album, hits the listener in the stomach over and over again until Dead Gods brings in the lead to mindlessly solo over the whole unholy orchestra. More stoner/sludge influenced than their other tracks, this is a personal favorite, reminiscent of Neurosis (one of my favorites). Enter the circle pit, menacing riffs, and nightmarish vocals, and it's over.

"VI.V" - This instrumental keeps the dark mood going, instilling dread and fear--don't you ever forget what Dead Gods just did. It's all over. You can sleep now.

"Wormtongue" - Just kidding. These dudes are about as done with you as your fat uncle is with his Budweiser six-pack; that is to say, never. A sludgy, slow ode to the dark lord, this song riffs through 2 minutes like a hot knife in vegan butter (real quick). The riff at the end just kills it, going in half time, and beating you with a crowbar of bass. "If I'm the one who's fucking selfish, why am I still here?"

"On My Way" - Like their predecessors, Dead Gods uses this last (vocal) track, as well as the proper use of their instruments, to make sure you don't forget what they came to do. In the words of Otis Driftwood from The Devil's Rejects, "I am the devil, and I came to do the devil's work." Killer track.

"VIII.V" - Just as quick as it came, it's over. Dead Gods has gone ass-rippingly through 11 tracks in just over 30 minutes. This crushing outro seals the deal for me. Love it.

"Hidden Track" - What? You think I'm going to ruin this for you? Go download it for yourself.

Living up to their name as "Baltimore's Sons of Evil," Dead Gods have presented an album here that is just as dark as your favorite band, and way, way more terrifying. Besides my one (let me repeat: ONE) qualm with one song, this is one of the better dark hardcore albums I've ever listened to. It doesn't get boring, it isn't too repetitive, and the parts that are repetitive are entirely welcome. On second thought, these guys aren't "dark hardcore," they're Evil as Hell (literally). If you don't like this band, good luck sleeping at night. Make sure you lock the deadbolt.