DEAD AWAKEN (Sweden) “Where Hope Turns Dripping Red” CD review by

DEAD AWAKEN (Sweden) “Where Hope Turns Dripping Red” CD review by

By Ian Markowitz

Dead Awaken bring a full length release which oozes old-school groove. They are very cozy with the older ways of death metal and they do it well. It’s mostly mid-tempo and thrashy with the occasional slow track or breakdown (suffo-breakdown, not waking the cadaver) and the occasional grind beat. They sneak in some evil melodies and solos reminiscent of Slayer but it all blends well.

The production fits the older style but isn’t flat, it’s crunchy and sizzle-y. It doesn’t slam my face, but then, it’s not slam. Everything is pretty clear but well rounded, not clinical. The bass has an Alex-Webster-like tone and he plunks along in a similar way. The vocals are medium-low bellows somewhere in the area of Suffocation but with more variation and less thunder.

More than the production or the musicianship, what really sticks out are the songs. Everything they do feels very intentional and like they’re comfortable with it. The Dimebag-esque breakdown on “Mudhell” doesn’t feel forced or out of place, even though there is nothing else like it on the album. Each song does its own thing while working smoothly with the rest of the album. The songs are pretty distinct, though there were one or two places where I felt like I had heard a riff or breakdown before. But for the most part, each song has it’s own feel and there’s usually something awesome that occurs. That is to say, the first track has a drum fill with a polyrhythm in it and then later has a dope suffocation style breakdown. “Kingdom of Damnation” has verses that are just vocals, bass and drums, which is pretty unconventional and badass. Each song has its own little thing.

Now that I’ve told you what I love, I’ll tell you what I hate. The drum production is unsightly. That’s the nicest way I can think to say it. It sounds ok more often than not, but whenever he does a grind beat, the snare drum is somewhere between quiet and silent. It’s not on every song, but it’s often enough to drive me nuts. You can trigger your snare. You can turn up the snare volume in the mix. Or, you can practice until you can play faster. All three are acceptable solutions but to do none of the above is unforgivable. That’s how I feel, if you don’t mind your grind beats implied more than heard, disregard this paragraph.

For all I said just then, this cd is pretty good. It’s fun and catchy straight through. The choruses are articulate and well written. The songs are well structured but far from predictable. If you’re a fan of the style, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

SCORE – 6.5 out of 10

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