Hooded Menace

Never Cross the Dead

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The second release from this Finnish trio (following 2008's Fulfill the Curse on the obscure Razorback label) represents at best a slight evolution, but more accurately a consolidation, of their already retro sound. They take the downtuned Swedish death metal of Grave, Dismember, and Dissection and blend it with sludgy doom, throwing in some galloping NWOBHM guitars in the Iron Maiden tradition from time to time, and put ultra-guttural vocals on top. It's a somewhat patchwork blend; the melodic guitar breaks in particular seem to have little to do with everything else going on, and their track titles -- "The House of Hammer," "Night of the Deathcult," "Terror Castle," "Theme from Return of the Evil Dead" -- imply a goofy sense of humor that's not represented in their playing. Perhaps the biggest problem with Never Cross the Dead, though, is that the songs are simply too long -- most run between six and eight minutes, as the downtuned riffs crawl along endlessly. While the album has a few decent moments, it just doesn't provide enough reward for the demands it places on the listener.

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