U2, Enya, The Coors, Therapy? – notice how none of those artists sound like the bastard offspring of Lamb of (Oh My Fucking) God and Machine (Fucking) Head yet that is exactly what Ireland’s latest musical export, Dead Label, sounds like.
Formed in 2008, Dead Label, comprising of Dan O’Grady (bass and vocals), Danny Hall (guitar and vocals) and Claire Percival (drums) quickly went on to take over the metal scene on the Emerald Isle winning Ireland’s Battle of the Bands “The Crypt Trials” in 2009 and recording their self-titled EP a year later. Now the band is kick starting 2012 with the release of their debut album, “Sense Of Slaughter”.
The album opens with instrumental track ‘Dead and Gone’, a short lead in to the rest of the album, which unfortunately is then let down by the lack of impact of album opener proper and title track ‘Sense of Slaughter’, not that it’s a bad track, but it’s successor ‘Reign’ would have been a much stronger way to pull you in to the album.
The first thing you notice is how in your face the guitar sound is, the second thing you notice is that haters of the snare sound on “St Anger” probably shouldn’t listen to this. The third thing a listener will notice is how strong this debut album is.
Danny appears to have adopted some of the guitar sound and feel of Machine Head while Claire Percival clearly listens to Lamb of God albums on repeat, as her kick drums give Joey Jordison a run for his money.
Dead Label are clearly onto something special here, as by all rights I shouldn’t like this. The vocals are screamed or growled so aggressively I have no idea what the lyrics are, the snare sounds like the skin hasn’t been changed for years, there isn’t a single guitar solo to break up the screaming and as you move into the final 3rd of “Sense of Slaughter” you can’t help but think “haven’t I heard this before?” BUT the riffs are either groovy as fuck or thrashy as fuck, the kick drum kicks your face and the songs are timed perfectly to be just long enough to get into your head, but yet short enough to not outstay their welcome and let’s not forget – how many songs on Lamb of God’s “Resolution” sounded familiar to you?
So fuck it folks, this is a top debut, by the band seemingly leading the charge in Ireland’s heavy metal scene. Look out for Dead Label, I fully expect to see them touring the rest of the British Isles very soon and will be well worth seeing live. If for no other reason than to check out their chick drummer (Oh man, I went the whole review without going there…)