Dead Asylum – Death Always Wins (Self-Released)

Friday, 26th May 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

While many believe Toronto and Montreal are the hotbed Canadian scenes for metal, do not sleep on other parts of the country- for talent lurks in Vancouver too as evidenced by the work of Annihilator, Unleash the Archers, and underground talent such as this four-piece Dead Asylum. Forming at the end of 2011 and issuing a debut full-length with General Carnage in 2013, many will probably give this band an extra look because of drummer Samantha Landa, who saved the day on recent 2016 tour runs for North America and Europe with Brazilian thrashers Nervosa. Back in business with the second album Death Always Wins – the added street cred should help the band gain more traction.

Cutting away any excess intro/outro fluff, Dead Asylum deliver eight songs that contain semi-technical thrash/death twists on all instruments, while also keeping a melodic undercurrent during numerous arrangements. Proficient lead breaks from Eric Morrison showcase neoclassical/shred worthy aptitude, while punishing rhythm guitar play out of Mike Lister makes the under three-minute title cut a stellar effort, tremolo passages and tribal drumming along with a chant worthy chorus infusing Amon Amarth meets old Dark Tranquillity comparisons. The confidence to stride from frantic technical sweeps to a bass solo before moving back into crushing mid-paced thrash puts “Between Me and the Grave” as another highlight, while when the band wants to just obliterate in an older Kreator-ish wall of sound, look no further than “Bury the Living”, a propulsive crusher sure to send heads and bodies aplenty into seas of sweat. Epic/cultural guitar harmonies weave in and out at times, adding that Maiden-esque melodic death flavor which will charge up any metal head in existence – even against the caustic screams and growls from Mike for “Forgotten Sacrifice”, where Samantha switches up her thrash/death tempos to inject a bit of classic groove and tastefulness.

Occasionally the dual growl/screaming platform can reach monotonous capacity, especially on the slightly modern “Welcome” – overall though Dead Asylum possess the aggression, musicianship, and songwriting dynamics necessary to make waves beyond local borders into international waters. For those who like a fiery cocktail of melodic death, brutal thrash, and spirited lead work, this is razor sharp to cut deeply.

Dead Asylum official website