The Dead XIII headlined the second day of our stage at Wildfire last year on the strength of 2015’s Catacombs and they’re back with the follow-up, Dark Days, due out on February 9th.
One look at the band’s photo and you’ll likely have some idea of what you’re in for – horror-tinged gothic metal. What may surprise you is the quality. The band have really ramped things up from the first album to produce an absolute corker which makes the term “difficult second album” pretty much redundant. The closest band in terms of sound I can think of offhand is probably 69 Eyes, but this is no rip off; The Dead XIII have a sound all of their own, and it’s a nicely filthy one.
Kurt Blackshard’s (real name, honest… OK, maybe not) vocals are nicely guttural without being indecipherable, and he’s backed by a great crew. Ste Mahoney and Symon Strange cover six-string duties, with Strange also paying attention to the synths which are utilised both frequently and to good effect. Spike Owen thumps reliably along on the drums giving just what’s needed and no more – he’s not someone who drums with frills, he’s very much a machine that keeps everyone else ticking over with the assistance of Paul Ryan whose bass note encourage the neck to twitch.
What The Dead XIII have a knack for is making something dark, but also making it very catchy indeed – and the kind of catchy that grabs you on the first listen, not the third or fourth. Simple rhythms wrap you up and keep you captive as the repeated listens let you appreciate the little guitar fills and synth flurries. Dark Days is a very easy album to get into.
The title track is an absolute belter and opener “Bloodlines” is one the band have been playing live for a while. To hear it properly produced and coming out of my own speakers is a great experience (check it yourself down the page). “Killers” is another top number, with a simple riff that runs almost throughout with some belting drums as well. “Play Hell” unleashes a hell (ahem) of a guitar solo towards the end, as the track zips by at a frenetic pace.
The key to each track is that hook. They have you by the short and curlies from the off on every single occasion, and they don’t let go until the end. Or you pull yourself loose. Ow. This isn’t just an album to pop on when you get home and rock out to, it’s a collection of tracks that deserve to be heard live in a divey venue reeking of leather and patchouli oil. Lucky for you they’re touring soon in support of Doyle then, really.
Get the album, grab a ticket and don’t miss out on a ride on the darkest express in town.
Support and pre-order the album on IndieGoGo – release date is February 9th.
Tour Dates supporting Doyle with Killus opening:
- 26 Mar: Asylum 2, Birmingham, UK
- 27 Mar: Redrum, Stafford, UK
- 28 Mar: Factory, Manchester, UK
- 29 Mar: Cathouse, Glasgow, UK
- 30 Mar: Church, Dundee, UK
- 31 Mar: Corporation, Sheffield, UK
- 1 Apr: Parish, Huddersfield, UK
- 2 Apr: Bierkeller, Bristol, UK
- 3 Apr: Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham, UK
- 4 Apr: Hobo’s, Bridgend, UK
- 5 Apr: The Hub, Plymouth, UK
- 6 Apr: Cobblestones, Bridgwater, UK
- 7 Apr: The Lounge, London, UK