You may not have heard of The Dead XIII and one look at their ghoulish image may give you the idea that you already know what they’re going to sound like, and if truth be told, yes, they do take a lot of inspiration from the likes of Misfits and Murderdolls with a bit of The Defiled thrown in. But it takes more than just black-and-white make-up and lyrics about zombies to really make an impression and The Dead XIII do have a little more substance than most horror metal/punk bands trying to break through.
‘Stake My Date’ opens with a greasy biker rock riff and Misfits-style gang cry of “GO!” before singer Kurt Blackshard takes the lead with his vocal melodies that immediately bring to mind Marilyn Manson but less goofy and more moody. It’s an energetic rock n’ roller that doesn’t do anything other than what it should and that’s get you pumped up for a damn good time, and as an opening track it’s a success. The ominous keyboard intro to ‘Stage Fright’ sets a tone that the band don’t quite pick up despite the vocals getting darker and harsher, the song not being bad but not really doing very much and being the most forgettable one here.
‘Monster Rehab’ takes a different approach and slows things down a touch with a moody verse and some chugging guitars that adds a little Motörhead into the mix before the explosive chorus sees Kurt letting rip with some deathly vocal bellows. The imaginatively-titled ‘Army of the Dead’ picks up the pace again and brings a more basic punk rock approach over a jumpy drum beat that has ‘live favourite’ stamped all over it, as the image of pogoing ghouls gets seared into your brain.
The harshest comment you can throw at this EP is that not one of the songs leaps out more than any of the others, all four of them hitting a general level of consistency and staying there. EP’s are really just a taster and hopefully when a full album comes there will be a couple of killer anthems in there to really boost the band’s profile and get them noticed. They’ve definitely got it in them as they can play, they sound fantastic thanks to a rock solid production job and there’s just that certain something bubbling away under the surface that hopefully they can bring out the next time they hit the studio. In the meantime, give this EP a shot and go and see them live as apparently they put on a cracking show.