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Date: May 28th, 2021

Label: Art Gates Records

From the package of three bands I got from Art Gates Records this time, with no expectations, led by the album cover, I chose Almost Dead, knowing absolutely nothing about the band.

First, why the album cover? As a fan of Transformers / Terminator  I must say that was the first I noticed. Add Iron Maiden inspired soldiers and you got the winning combination. Apocalyptic scenery fits well with the album title.

Promo material clearly says that I am facing thrash/groove metal. Hm… They were formed back in 2004 in sunny California? Never heard of them before? Something must be wrong with me! But I am quite sure there will be more of you who have never heard about the band, so why don’t we all learn something new?

The band has 4 (!) albums behind: “Almost Dead” (2007), “Internal Chaos” (2008), “Mindfucked” (2012) and “Lay Me Down to Waste” (2018). Guys were touring with such names as M.O.D., Blaze Bayley, The Dickies and many more. Great references.

So, in 2021, Almost Dead delivered their fifth album, “Brutal Onslaught”. Nevertheless, twelve songs,over 51 minutes of brutality in total.

If I should exclude the thrash part out of their music, I would say it goes in the Bay Area direction, which is great. If you carefully listen to the album, you will hear a bit of Pantera influences (“Ideal Remains”, “Last Rite” or “Cage Fighting”). Do not get me wrong, those guys are obviously highly influenced by Pantera, Machine Head, maybe Papa Roach, but they have their own signature.

The album starts with the already mentioned, groovy, “Cage Fighting”. Pantera’s influences are recognizable mostly in drumming, brutal riffs and singing style. “Leave the Weak” has the vocal parts that irresistibly go in Mark Osegueda direction. Sirens brings atmosphere to the other level, of course, drumming and guitar solo would take the best marks here.

“Last Rite” as well as “Amaurosis” is a great choice for live shows and wild mosh pits. Pounding drumming just does not stop provoking you. 

The biggest surprise, at least for me, is “Downfall”. The most colorful song: slow tempo in the beginning, starting with the clean vocals, melodic guitars, and after around 90 seconds, bang! Bone crusher! So unexpected, the band hits with energy that will move the mountains. The powerful Floridian force shows no mercy! As it starts it ends, slowly leading us to the next one, already mentioned “Amaurosis”. “Lost My Way” is a song focused on gambling addiction. Focus is on clean vocals, great hooks, and melodic chorus. Personal favorite. 

“Masked Pain” will also buy you with blasting. Here some growl vocals are added, I would say unnecessarily. “Ideal Remains” brings us back to Pantera waters. If you need a “break”, “Turn to Stone” is the perfect choice for you. At least, a catchy melody will calm you down a bit. Almost dead will not leave you enough space to take some rest, they will hit with “Pull Rank”, a piece of pure energy. 

Living in a chaotic world, I must say the only therapy that keeps my mental health is “Metal Therapy”. And I must say, the whole “Brutal Onslaught” album is kind of therapy. At least it reminded me of headbanging. And here we are, at the end of our brutal journey. “A Vile Descent” delivers beautiful melody, and tricks us again cause the beautiful melody supported by pounding drums will again turn to pure energy and aggression. 

One is sure, this album is everything but not boring. Compliments for variety and I cannot just close this review without asking myself how chaotic Almost Dead’s concert must be.

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