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Deadhead - Swine Plague

Swine Plague
by VR at 09 July 2017, 12:31 PM

Founded in the year 1989 in Kampen, a city in south of Holland, is Thrash Metal outfit DEADHEAD and the band came about with the blend of personnel from two bands called LETHARGY and SERPENT to form one Thrash filled entity. They claim to be influenced by Thrash Metal legends like KREATOR, SADUS and DARK ANGEL. The band has put out six full length studio albums, three demos, two split albums and one compilation and EP. The intention of the band is to play pure, high velocity Thrash Metal and that they do not intend to be swayed by trends of the day. The band has shared the stage with seminal bands like KREATOR, SEPULTURA, CANDLEMASS, SUFFOCATION and BIOHAZARD. They parted ways with original singer Tom Van Dijk for their fifth album “Depression Tank” and employed the services of Ralph De Boer from the band SIDIOUS. However, they soon reunited with their founding member in 2012 for their latest violent effort after an eight year long wait.

Helhuizen” is the first track of the record and the band state their intentions pretty earlier in the album. Rapid-fire Thrash riffs that would not seem out of place in the 80’s and lead vocals that is reminiscent of KREATOR’S Mille Petrozza blare forth. “Duhr” and “Palfium” follow each other and with runtime less than 5 minutes, the songs seem more chaotic than memorable. The tracks do have a couple of really good Thrash riffs and there are bits of the songs that are quite headbangable but it’s not entirely remarkable. Nestled smack in the centre of the album is “13 Close” and it has a simple melody at the start. The riff that shores up the verse is a classic Old School Thrash riff and it provides an able foil to the frenzied vocals. The vocals for this track reminds me of the way Tom Araya approaches his duties with SLAYER and the ever changing tempo of the track makes this an interesting track to listen to. “The Reformation” is a song that is less than 2 minutes in runtime and is an acoustic ballad that gives some respite from the merciless pounding the band has inflicted. Creepy, eerie serpent like evil whispering vocals accompany a haunting melody as the song slowly snakes its way to its end. “The Gates Beyond” immediate erupts and is a lesson in aggressive in-your-face Thrash Metal on speed. The song slows down in the middle section only to hasten up with a chugging galloping riff that is able supported by a scalding lead solo. “The Battle of Europe”, the last song of the album, is a violent tirade and it caps off, perfectly, forty seven minutes of savage Thrash Metal.

The band definitely does not sound like it was conceived in the 80’s as they astonish with savage and ferocious Old School Thrash Metal. The album contains strong traces of KREATOR, SADUS and SODOM in the way the songs are constructed and sung. I did feel that the band took about three songs in to get in to a groove that they manage to sustain till the end of the album. The tracks are strong and aggressive and barring a few riffs buried in the tracks, they don’t really offer the listener a great hook to remember the songs by. There is not let up in the pummeling drum work and it keeps up with the rest of the savagery is indeed commendable. Overall, this is brutal album that will appeal to Thrash Metal fans even though the production value is not really up there. This album is recommended and makes for a hard hitting hour of pure Thrash magic.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Helhuizen
2. Duhr
3. Palfium
4. Fortress of Greed
5. The Awakening
6. 13 Close
7. The Day of the Devil
8. Spanish Horse
9. The Reformation
10. The Gates Beyond
11. Eternity Destroyed
12. The Battle of Europe
Tom Van Dijk – Vocals, Bass
Hans Spijker - Drums
Ronnie Vanderwey – Guitars
Robbie Woning - Guitars
Record Label: Hammerheart Records


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