The first thing that really hits you about this record is the vitality of the recording and the urgency of the songs. There is a lot to like on The Dead Stay Dead but it is that vitality and freshness that has such instant appeal. Huron are in one sense traditional thrash based out of Plymouth UK but this classic sound combined with this freshness and urgency of attack means that Huron are able to carve their own take on the genre. The next thing that really hits you about this record is how Huron have managed to create a sound of their own but have packed in a whole host of ideas and inventiveness into their 11 songs.
Thrash is still going strong worldwide; here at Moshville Times we get sent a dozen or more thrash albums a week; but rarely do they grab my attention like The Dead Stay Dead and it is that ability to take classic ideas, guitar solos and structure and to reinvent that map purely on energy that makes this record so strong. The third thing you will think when listening to this record is that you can’t wait for Huron to get on the road and promote because that tour is bound to be carnage.
So what is it that makes this record so brilliant? Take opening song “The Ark of Deucalion”. It’s a great intro; fast and then it stops you get a riff by the single guitar classic thrash style (a little trick I have always loved) and then the band build up again before the vocals kick in. It may be classic thrash but it is still a fresh take on it. The vocals fit perfectly, the musicianship is brilliant and we are even taken on a slightly different direction as the melodic side to Huron kicks in and it is this melding of the styles that works so well for them. Musically it never really lets up, this is thrash, it is fast, the guitars pace never drop. The melodic aspect is actually introduced by the variety of singing styles and backing vocals, it is never overdone and always returns to the thrash element and that carriers its own energy and excitement.
Title track “The Dead Stay Dead” takes this inventiveness to a new level. The track starts out a strong thrasher, good riffs, pace and vocal work but chorus wise again this track is taken into a different plane. This would be a strong single. The call and response chorus, with one voice melodic and the other growling, angry and shouting is just great. This is like being invited to perform a duet with a demon. I think the fact the song is so strong throughout makes the chorus work even better. Again you will be blown away by the passion of the band in this track
What Huron manage to do to keep the album sounding so fresh and inventive is introduce subtle differences in each of their songs and it is this striving to outperform themselves which makes each of the songs so distinctively but subtlety different. Take “Santa Muerte” for example, the use of timing and the way it chops and changes that timing through the song gives the song a distinct vibe. So where it starts with a slow and doom laden opening sequence it soon gives way to a military style beat; by the time the vocals are introduced there has been a subtle timing shift again and these shifts move throughout the song. Huron are also good at matching the pace of the lyrics to these timings. Whereas on a track like ‘Despina’, we see something more extreme metal, a super-fast pace and drumming and frantic growled vocals. The solo is equally as fast paced and the song just explodes out of my stereo. Still they manage to twist this round with the instrumental break in the middle which drops this pace, introducing a touch of melodic metal.
“Murder Hole” is one of my favourites on the album, again I think it’s that mash up of different ideas and styles in one song. Its thrash metal but offers so much more than just one or two ideas played well. The vocals on ‘Murder Hole’ are engaging each word is full of venom and almost forced out but there also a feeling of trying to retain some of that anger in but not being quite able to cope. When the melodic singing kicks in for another demon duet it sounds almost mystic in comparison to the vocals so far. There is even a touch of doom to this album which is always good. “Solace” very much has this vibe, complete with drawn out and vocals, doom may be the base of the song but it is still interjected with the thrash elements but it just again shows what Huron are capable of.
This should be the record where Huron start to get a lot more notice taken of them and it is already a contender for album of 2016. When you fall in love with an album it can be for an number of different reasons it can be the atmosphere, it can be the overall general vibe that just suits where your head is at that time and then you get the type of records that really excite you, that you want to put on loud before going out to get you in the mood and this is where The Dead Stay Dead falls for me, it is so vital and urgent and so full of exuberance and energy that you can’t help but be dragged along in its wake, its so contagious I am actually surprised The Dead Can Stay Dead while this is playing.
Header Image By Leigh Drinkwater Photography.
The Dead Stay Dead is released on February 12th