Dead Lord – Heads Held High (Century Media)

Thursday, 20th August 2015
Rating: 8.5/10

Leaving another band to seek his own path in 2012, vocalist/guitarist Hakim Grim began Dead Lord with the purpose to churn out 70’s oriented retro-metal from that live, raw, in your face perspective. Churning out a respectable debut through High Roller in Goodbye Repentance, the larger Century Media took note of the Swedes twin-guitar foundation to sign them and release the follow up Heads Held High. After numerous playbacks, there are a number of factors that aid the group’s potential to survive in a throwback genre gaining a boatload of media attention.

The quartet embody a tight musical chemistry long since forgotten due to the computerized, faceless activity of trading files through the Internet that many younger generations prefer when writing and refining compositions. Reel to reel tapes capture the primal energy, galloping tempos, bluesy/southern-tinged melodies, and obvious addictive guitar activity. Martin Nordin and Adam Lindmark maintain superb groove abilities on bass and drums, but also propel the right charisma in terms of pumping rhythmic duties for “Ruins” and future set-list anthem “Don’t Give a Damn”. Hakim and fellow axe slinger Olle Hedenstrom subscribe to a dual harmonic outlook well-crafted from the Gorham/Robertson Thin Lizzy bread and butter years (although I’ll put a little Gary Moore in there too) – “Farewell” and “Strained Fools” electric and engaging plus paying a tip of the cap to those early NWOBHM bands like Angel Witch or Iron Maiden.

Doubling up on the microphone, Hakim delivers the words in more of an Americanized fashion – careful, bluesy, but respectful of the material at hand. He’s equally adept at handling a more playful, commercial-tinged number like “When History Repeats Itself” or the louder, raucous guitar-forward closer “With Heads Held High” (think a twinge of classic Kiss or B.O.C. here). The simpler skull to hand cover and band logo reinforce the band’s philosophy – and I doubt there’s much mystery to what you’ll get once you press play here.

More bands should use Heads Held High as their new standard. It’s okay to bash out tunes together in rehearsal rooms and recording studios – and if you miss Jailbreak to Black Rose, Dead Lord could arise Phil Lynott’s legacy in your heart again.

Dead Lord official website