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Almost Dead – Brutal Onslaught

Almost Dead
Brutal Onslaught
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 05 July 2021, 9:21 AM

This brutal steamroller was formed back in 2004 in Martinez (California, USA). Taking inspiration from bands like PANTERA, SEPULTURA, TESTAMENT and MACHINE HEAD, and infusing them with influences of New England Metalcore and New York Technical Death Metal. Almost Dead has created their own original powerful thrash groove sound that still includes all the elements of metal you know and love. After releasing four full length albums: “Almost Dead” (2007), “Internal Chaos” (2008), “Mindfucked” (2012), “Lay Me Down to Waste” (2018), touring all over California. “Brutal Onslaught” contains twelve tracks.

“Cage Fighter” leads off the album. The opening sequence is full of pig squeals, as the guitar riff chugs along with a speedy pace. The vocals…are not for me. The shouted style reminds me of Hardcore bands, which I do not care for. The breakdown section following the second chorus is unfortunately predictable. “Leave the Weak” has a similar sound. The slow, grinding pace and over-reliance on open notes is a recipe for disaster. Sirens blare, announcing the coming of something dark. Some lead guitar notes follow, but the track as a whole is boring to me.

“Last Rite” is more of the same…simple riffing, and vocal screams. The breakdown section is where they get going a bit, but again, they rely on the same notes to get their point across. It’s both boring and overly simple. “Downfall” opens with some clean guitar notes and vocals. It’s really the first track that sounds different than many of the others. Still, it is tinged with an Emo type sound…something that I really do not like. But, the chaos comes fairly quickly thereafter. “Amaurosis” is a faster moving song, with almost rapped vocals. Billed as Metalcore, I hear more elements of Hardcore and even Crossover, but that is neither here nor there. “Lost my Way” begins with a slow, dark pace, with tom drum strikes and some lower chords. The riffing could not be more simple if they tried. Even the guitar solo is overly simple.

“Masked Pain” opens with some more of that darkness. The riff comes in and starts chugging away. But, they are replaced with the same old, same old sound pretty quickly thereafter. Again, the sound is plenty brutal, but that’s about all I can say about the album. “Ideal Remains” is a faster song with chugging in the riffs and the drums, creating this punishing sound. But the overall sound is again, overly simple. “Turn to Stone” begins with a more mid-tempo sound. The main riff is repeated in four bars and then in comes the brutal sound again. I am not sure why they band relies so much on this sound, but they do.

“Pull Rank” is a very short song with intensity that is unmatched. But once again, the band relies on this elementary style of writing. It is quite annoying. In “Metal Therapy,” I appreciate the sentiment, but again, it’s uncomplicated music. The expletives are nice, but do not carry the song. “A Vile Descent” closes what has been a disappointing listening experience for me. It begins with some dark tones in the clean guitars, and a slow, grinding pace. But, you know it’s coming…and there it is…a simple song with a similar scope as the rest of the album. Though, the Braveheart quotes are nice.

I get the brutal aspect of the album here, but one cannot rely on brutality alone to get the point across. The riffing is trite and the vocals grate on me. If they want to make it in today’s Metal scene, the band is going to have to diversify their sound. It’s too simple in scope, and many of the songs sound similar in length and with the same notes used over and over again. The cover art is fantastic…to bad the album was not.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

1. Cage Fighter
2. Leave the Weak
3. Last Rite
4. Downfall
5. Amaurosis
6. Lost my Way
7. Masked Pain
8. Ideal Remains
9. Turn to Stone
10. Pull Rank
11. Metal Therapy
12. A Vile Descent
Tony Rolandelli – Vocals
Zach Weed – Guitars
Logan Shackleton – Bass
Ryan Glick – Drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records


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