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Red Dead – Forest Of Chaos

Red Dead
Forest Of Chaos
by Santiago Puyol at 13 April 2020, 6:03 AM

RED DEAD is a Death Metal musical project by three musicians coming from South-West France. Their sound takes mostly an old school Death Metal sound, with subtle Thrash and Technical influences bleeding into their style. "Forest of Chaos" is their sophomore album, following their 2017’s "Therapy of the Evil" full-length debut, and 2018’s split album with UNDEAD VISION and SON OF A SHOTGUN.

Opener "Funeral Path" functions as a brief intro. Ambient sounds such as wind rushing and someone’s steps as well as some folk instrumentation (didgeridoo and strings) make lulls the listener into a soft sound before the band enters pounding with strength. The track builds and builds until dissolving itself into ambience and flowing directly into "Forest of Flesh", a pure Death Metal track. Its powerful and abrasive, syncopated riffing, still carries enough melody to be memorable. A song with a shifting structure. The triplet feel on the chorus makes it swingy and lively. It will crush you entirely on its outro with guitars sounding as machine guns.

"The Gatekeeper’s" nasty bassline anchors the track while textured guitar work gives it room to breathe. It goes full DEATH on the middle section of the track, more on the technically complex, late-era side of the band. A tasteful and appropriate guitar solo decorates the track, being efficient but not the show-off type. Some playful drumming keeps things steady.

A complex drum groove makes the backbone of "Butcher’s Pray", while the band gets to have fun with syncopation and jam a little on the instrumental sections. There is a subtle Eastern feel to the guitar on the melodic solo the track feautres. Meanwhile, "Black Valley" goes thrashy at the very start, before moving into an ambivalent feel, mostly conveyed through the guitar work, at times punishing and dark, at times weirdly uplifting and almost hopeful. The shift between high-pitched and low-pitched growls adds some nice dynamism to it.

"Red Eyes Children" has some sick and wicked riffing with nasty squeaking from the guitar. Very percussive drum work here, almost tribal at points. The guitar plays almost a call and response game with the vocals and rhythm section, falling into different subsections of the beat in a syncopated way. RED DEAD show some creative songwriting tricks here, adding a softer, almost melodic outro to the track. Although it comes in quite an abrupt way, the band makes it fit smoothly.

"Old Skull Road" and "Antidote Trap" opt for somewhat straightforward writing, following a classic Death Metal sound, while "Servant of the Death" shows the technical side of the band, with dynamic drumming and playful guitar work. The two vocalists (guest simply named Kevin, from MORGENRODE and FETAL PUTREFACTION) complement each other greatly, especially when their vocals collide with one another. There is some sophisticated and impressive instrumental work, with tempo and time signature shifts.

Timeless riffing make "Epidemic Fangs" stand out. The bass takes a prominent role on this track and really carries it. Overall, it could be straight out of the late 80’s/early90’s Death Metal scene. Some random dog barking samples is a fun touch. The heaviest track of the album goes next. "Wind of Chaos" is simply brutal. Demonic growling, breakneck speed drumming, punching bass and compact riffing. A nasty, crushing proper ending that makes the next track feel like an epilogue to the record.

In a way, "Into the Void" feels like "Funeral Path" part 2, but it integrates the string instruments and even piano in a more smooth way than the opening track. It has a jazzy quality to it, sounding closer to something CYNIC would do, or even an instrumental section from some long lost OPETH or NE OBLIVISCARIS track.

The production could have been a little less muddy, even if the raw tone fits the music. Still, some of the complex sections could be a little more appreciated with a clearer sound, especially with such an skillful band. All in all, "Forest of Chaos" is a commendable follow-up to "Therapy of the Evil" that builds on the strengths of RED DEAD and delivers a bonecrushing collection of songs.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Funeral Path
2. Forest of Flesh
3. The Gatekeeper
4. Butcher’s Pray
5. Black Valley
6. Red Eyes Children
7. Old Skull Road
8. Antidote Trap
9. Servant of the Death
10. Epidemic Fangs
11. Wind of Chaos
12. Into the Void
Roolet – Vocals and bass
Antho – Guitar
Tony – Drums
Kevin – Guest vocals on "Servant of the Death"
Record Label: Great Dane Records


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Edited 10 December 2022

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