Deceased – Ghostly White (Hells Headbangers)Thursday, 13th December 2018
Always marching to their own template, Deceased epitomize the ideal people’s metal band. Trends and labels matter not to these musicians -following their creative vision is of supreme importance. Look at their discography and hear the risks taken early on for the progressively twisted/Voivod-ish The Blueprints for Madness in 1995 or the more traditional nuances of the follow up Fearless Undead Machines in 1997 all the way through to this latest effort Ghostly White to know that this band will never churn out a replica of what’s expected or anything half-hearted. It may take years at this point to get everything together due to work/family situations and schedules, but in the end it’s all worth engaging in the final product – once again the case for this eight-song outing.
The final recording we have from drummer Dave Castillo who tragically died weeks before the album’s release, the sound of this record pushes a hi-fi intensity that goes counter-culture to these trigger/computer perfect digital productions that seem to whirl out on a cookie cutter conveyor belt by the dozens today. The layering of dual guitars, bass, and drums against King’s morose and raspy vocal patterns adds to the tension and intensity – even when there are small spotlights for a bass solo from Les Snyder during “The Shivers” or supplementary narrative word elements that set up “Thoughts of a Leaking Brain”. The subtle keyboard opening during “Mrs. Allardyce” gives way to the rhythm churn and eerie guitar trill out of Mike Smith and Shane Fuegel as they weave and bob in an ominous musical parade to the grave. Listeners always know with Deceased you’ll get plenty to digest in terms of the story angles lyrically beyond the push and pull present on the music spectrum – Deceased navigating multiple genres from traditional to thrash to progressive and death, circling around many 70’s and 80’s-oriented influences. You can pick up on everything from Di’Anno-period Maiden to early Voivod, Rush to even early Canadian speed metal to know where the diverse outlook ensures no sign of aural fatigue from front to back.
Highlights can change by the day depending on what strikes you. The 13:20 epic “Germ of Distorted Love” has quick hitting twin guitar harmonies as well as King’s spirited speed spew before changing into something more open in the see-saw progressive manner, where it can be solid 70’s doom or kick into “Phantom of the Opera”-like drum motions. Opposite that, blasting frantic speed death mania on the shorter follow up “A Palpation’s Warning” proves the band hasn’t lost any aggression or need to be savage when called for. Seven years can seem like a lifetime between studio records – but Ghostly White seeks to destroy, engage, and allow people to remember why we got into metal in the first place. Rebellion – expression – casting aside conformity to be who you want to be. Long live Deceased.