For the better part of the last 5 years, The Dead XIII have done well in establishing themselves as one of British metal’s hottest underground commodities, and following a successful crowdfunding crusade, they have bestowed upon us their eagerly awaited second record – Dark Days – and it is a doozy.
They kick off intensely with Bloodlines, where we dig the siren-esque electronics; a recurring feature throughout this album; after which they continue to dwell in their mammoth sound with the title number, headed by husky vocal work.
Last Stand is decent, if a bit unbalanced, with the most conspicuous quality being the rapid drumming, and Killers is mainly good, although it does get pretty messy in parts over the latter half.
However, they return to strength with The Fallen, topped off by a kinetic chorus, and following Vigil is hands down the best of the lot – Angels – with the robust riffs taking centre stage and running off a massive voltaic rhythm, and it flows perfectly into the equally blistering Play Hell.
The lyrics are really spotlighted in Insomnia and Redemption, and after a last respite in the form of Curtain Call is From Beyond which is admittedly a little over the place, but on the whole serves as a characteristically rocking ending to the record.
The Manchester troupe have hit another home run here that is a more than welcome sequel to the smash success Catacombs. Does it have faults? Absolutely, but they don’t do much to hamper the overall quality of the album as a whole, for the band make up for this with turbulent high-tempo tracks that blow the senses, not to mention showcase some deep psychological writing.
Yet another reason as to why The Dead XIII are worth your time and money (and a wee headbang to boot).