A bunch of young upstarts hailing from Manchester, The Dead XIII featured as Band of the Day recently and also had time to rattle off some great interview responses. As I’m starting to type up this review I’ve annoyingly had to miss their Glasgow appearance on the British Horror Story tour for family-related reasons (that is, I have one… and they exhaust me) which is a hell of a shame as I gather they’re superb live.
On the strength of Catacombs, this doesn’t surprise me. A very brief first listen gives the impression of another post-something or something-core band, but sit down and play it through a couple of times and their credited influences – predominantly the likes of Wednesday 13 – come through. Chugging rhythms are backed by atmospheric synths and the lyrical content is nicely tongue-in-cheek horror.
By the second full listen, I was really nodding my head to “Frostbite”. Unsurprisingly this was the first track released from the album (check it out below) and it is one of the best songs on here. Mind, much could be same of the other songs.
Opener “XIII” is a little repetitive, but this could work in their favour live as it’s very easy to pick up on the shouted ending making it good for crowd involvement. The title track is probably one of the darkest and most “goth” on the album, but shows a nice bit of variety with an unexpected acoustic break in the middle. Well, it’s not unexpected any more as I’ve told you about it, but you know what I mean. It builds into a very black-metal style finish as well.
“Be-Were” kicks off like some bastard offspring of Pantera and The Murderdolls with a definite groove feel to it. Another which will have heads banging and possibly the catchiest track of the ten. “Haunter” gives a nod to classic metal, and “Lay Siege To Hell” is as fast-paced and abrasive as you’d expect from the title. “Can’t Escape The Grave” probably sounds the most like the Murderdolls, but the fact that I’d not really say that The Dead XIII are a “Murderdolls rip-off” is credit to the band. They share the horror link, but musically they’re genres apart with only the occasional slimy tentacle poking through.
The final track “Apothesis” is the heaviest on the album and verges into black metal territory. Very slow, very evil and quite unlike the rest of the album. In a way it feel tacked on, but on the other hand it shows a band who aren’t worried about spreading their tattered wings and trying something a bit different.
Good stuff from a young band and the best of luck to them (and their touring partners) as they make their way around the UK over the next week or so.
Catacombs is out on August 10th and can be pre-ordered now.