Fearless Undead Machines (Relapse)
by Scott Hefflon
This record is all over the map, achieving swelling to grand, picturesque heights, rolling amidst the corpses of many a dead genre occasionally unearthing a forgotten gem and sometimes examining a handful of maggot-chewed entrails best left untouched. In English, Deceased have turned from death metal to explore the roots of heavy metal and, as you might imagine, it’s like opening a can of worms. The guitar interplay is, as the bio states, reminiscent of classic Maiden, Mercyful Fate, or Judas Priest (not at the same time, obviously), yet there are also carry-overs from mid-to-late ’90s death duel solos (actually just a continuation of speedmetal’s technical fetish, but within the context of hyperspeed grind it mutated into its own sub-classification). As a concept album based on Romero’s Night of the/Dawn of the/Day of the Dead trilogy (Hey, it’s about time, guys!), it’s no surprise the movie clips are old-style horror intros as opposed to the sampled loops modern day industrial metalnuts rely so heavily upon. This is metal. Straight-for-the-throat, chugga-chugga, growl-growl, insert melodic bridge here, add gut-wrenching howl there, close with mysterious, echoing wails from the catacombs metal. It’s debatable whether this is progressively exploring roots for new offshoots or merely clawing for a little retro sentimentality, but hell, Fearless Undead Machines is such a diverse album, if you despise a certain passage (bad flashback! bad flashback!), don’t worry, it’ll swerve dramatically before you start gnawing your arm off.