I first heard of “The Dead” a year back when I got copies of their previous albums, “Nocturnal Funeral” and “Ritual Executions”. What struck me immediately was how the band managed to blend death metal music with sludge/doom sound undertones. I have generally found death metal to be one genre, with the least ‘experimentation’, so this was a treat to the ears! The albums kept dominating play time and I was quite pleased to hear when the new album “Deathsteps to Oblivion” was announced.
To say that “Deathsteps to Oblivion” is a huge leap forward by The Dead, is an
understatement. The band has once again pushed the boundaries of death metal
even further apart, with mesmerizing use of sludge, doom and drone sounds. At
the same time the band has successfully once again maintained the live-like
sound and raw energy that their previous works possess, and that help make the
band stand out! The album kicks off with “Maze of Fire”, at the beginning it
reminded me of another talented band on the same record label (Transcending
Obscurity) – Drug Honkey, with the synth vocals sending one into a trippy
journey. The track has a good sludge feel to it, with the most amazing bass
undertones. The bass lines striking with complete force right into the
“Disturbing the Dead” is the heaviest and the closest to
conventional death metal it gets on this record! The doom vibes running through
the track adds its charm. Once again bass heavy, with a small punchy solo
thrown in between, the album continues to draw the listener in. A total
upheaval takes place with “The God Beyond”, almost giving a grind-core start,
before settling down. The instrumental, gives a death metal-sludge-shoegaze mix
aura along with a female background vocal humming, leaving one in a trance and
totally unprepared for what the remaining album holds.
“Terminus” begins with a totally off-beat tribal music
before going into a nice death-sludge mix. The perfect interweaving and
synchronization of different genres by The Dead is brought to the front in this
track. The albums ends with the title track “Deathsteps to Oblivion”, which is
a total skull-crusher from start to end. The track brings in funeral doom vibes
along with a sludge-death metal mix brought into the play. With growls that
will even put the devil himself to shame, the listener is left gasping for
life, under the rumbling music.
At the end, what really works for the band is the originality
in the music. Breaking all conventions of death metal, the band has created
something totally different and unique. The odd-ities thrown around the album,
keep the listeners attention throughout.
The album is a huge step forward in terms of production and
song-writing for the band. The bass lines have always been the choice of
assault for the band (even in the previous works), and they come forward really
well on the mix of this record. The deep pounding bass lines throughout hit the
listeners with right in the face! The band has further shed their ‘death metal’
tag, experimenting further, into sludge sounds creating an amalgamation that
leaves the listeners enthralled.
Overall, “Deathsteps to Oblivion” is an album that is dark
and haunting, and gets more melancholic with every spin!