Deceased: Surreal Overdose

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Deceased: Surreal Overdose
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Deceased: Surreal Overdose
Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Patac Records
May 13th, 2011
Release length: 43:50
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Deceased has been around for quite a while at this point, but even today they are not that well known, though they really should be. Formed back in 1985, the Arlington, Virginia based Death/Thrash Metal effort has put out a number of releases, though not many full-lengths, having only five up to this point. It’s been roughly six years since their last full-length effort, As the Weird Travel On, and in the same respect this new album also has a new home. Surreal Overdose mark’s the groups sixth full-length effort, and it is being issued by the more underground label Patac Records. Given the large gap between these two releases, one can only wonder whether or not this album will find Deceased on par with what their most recent of full-lengths offered, or if the album is doomed in any way.

Surreal Overdose definitely carries on the trend that was made popular for the group on Paranormal Addiction. The group has definitely focused on more Thrash and Death Metal style with a strong grip on adding in the more melodic riffs and the way they should sound in accordance to the story of the tracks. The vocals have that rhaspy harmonization approach, but at the same time are a lot deeper and rougher, giving them a more intense feeling, which greatly helps some of the more serious tracks that lack any sort of melodic hooks, such as “The Traumatic”. The guitars are sharp and the bass sounds good in the mix, though feels a little more transparent then it really should be. The drums finally sound great, at least with the drum kicks, having a little more click to it without being loud enough to become obnoxious during more chaotic moments of the song, and the rest of the kit comes in clear and pretty heavy.

Of course, lyrically the album is set up in the same kind of horror style that tells a tale with each track. Much of the gothic atmosphere to the stories is gone, and thanks to the cleaner production, the tales feel a little more modern, in the sense of a stylish approach, but far more sinister. Surreal Overdose starts off exactly that way with a soul crushing intensity on “Skin Crawling Process”, having a modern Death Metal brutality to it and a little Thrash speed behind it, all building as the song continues for nearly seven minutes. The ending, however, does bring in those more melodic guitars, but it suits the music well and gives it a bit of an epic feeling that suits the conclusion of the track well, closing with an audio sample commanding you to get out and never return, followed with an explosion that, admittedly, sounds nice but really out of place, especially given the way Deceased ends that song. This track establishes the atmosphere nicely, as well as introduces to what you should expect from the band.

While much of the album has that stylish and sinister element to it, there are times where it can feel a little more on the haunting side, though those are not really a man focal point here with Surreal Overdose. “Cloned (Day of the Robot)” is a good example of the haunting atmosphere being incorporated, mostly through the haunting guitar hooks during the chorus, and a much catcier Punk-heavy approach to the Thrash input sometimes. The song is undeniably heavy, catchy, and intense, leaving the listener’s blood to start pumping, especially at the chorus when the music picks up in richness and gang chants are included into the mix. While this is easily one of the more engaging tracks on the release, you can’t really put down the more intense and less melodic songs like “The Traumatic” and “Off-Kilter”, both of which seem to look more towards a far more brutal approach that often goes into a really energetic performance from everyone involved in the band, which is the case with the latter of those tracks, though there is a small part of the song that slows down to a crawl around the half-way point, and then into a more Crossover Thrash influence towards the end, basically out of nowhere but yet transitioned well enough to leave it feeling like it’s part of the song and not randomly tacked on. The guitar solos on this track are also something special and well worth taking note of, though the solo at the end is a little saddening in the fact that it’s further in the background and very short.

The album closes things up well with two tracks that seem to work together. “A Doom-Laden Aura” actually starts while “In the Laboratory of Joyous Gloom” is still ringing out, but that barely lasts a second. The instrumental works well to bridge that track and “Dying in Analog” together well, giving a bit of an isolated and depressing atmosphere to the track before going into the largely old-school Heavy Metal track “Dying in Analog”. The song has a bit of a galloping pace to it, but ultimately comes off as the definitely of “true metal” with some more epic or glorious sounding hooks to the track while capturing a NWOBHM sound to the song before taking on a bit of a darker sound with some Death Metal input. While your head will already be banging away to that introduction, the heavier part works well to build up the adrenaline in the listener, all the while keeping you in suspense, waiting for a dramatic exertion of energy or for the song to pick back up into the style from the start of the song or really heavy and catchy chorus. The material does go into a stronger Death Metal passages with some off beat drumming that captures a strong intensity, but still it keeps the listener in suspense, not quit feeling like the song had been slipped into gear yet, keeping the listener restrained until the half way mark when the music suddenly slams into a heavy two-step Thrash passage that doesn’t quite fit the build up from the start, but it still is enough to feel like the listener should explode into a pit the second it starts, eventually closing without bvuilding back up and maintaining that sort of speed, though having more of a glorious atmosphere at the very end.

Surreal Overdose may have taken about six years, but it’s an album that is well worth the wait. If you’re a Deceased fan and have followed the band’s career throughout the years, then this is an effort that will greatly delight you. All the progress the band has made up to this point comes together and is molded into a uniform sound with a pristine production quality that gives this more modern album of collected tales of Horror the sound, atmosphere, and flow that the fans have been waiting for. There’s really nothing on the album that holds the release back, and each song has a unique approach that is commong to Deceased but solid from start to finish. Surreal Overdose is, at this point, easily one of the best Deceased records to date, if you like strong Thrash or Death Metal in any sense, this is an album that will more likely be overlooked, but you simply should not pass this effort up and make it your next important purchase.

01. Skin Crawling Progress – 7:00
02. Kindred Assembly – 4:30
03. The Traumatic – 5:30
04. Cloned (Day of the Robot) – 5:40
05. Off-Kilter – 5:05
06. In the Laboratory of Joyous Gloom – 6:55
07. A Doom-Laden Aura – 1:20
08. Dying in Analog – 7:50
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Deceased (band)
Deceased
Digital review copy of this release provided by Patac Records.