By Pagan Tordengrav
The formation of a band can usually be pinpointed to a certain time on a certain day, or at least a certain month. Dead River, however, are more like the product of roughly one year's worth of circumstance and coincidence, or so says their biography.
The band’s guitarist Andrew Skelton and bassist James Richards made an attempt to get something together, but it wasn’t to be until many months later when Dead River finally got together as a band.
I was regarding the band’s biography regarding the circumstances of how Dead River came to be; it seems that they did a one off show in a casino, playing pop cover songs for checkout attendants who were less than receptive – let’s hope that when I switch on the CD I won’t hear any Lady Gaga!
The cover of No Rest, No Mercy is certainly eye catching, depicting a group of burly cartoon gladiators in mid-battle, wielding swords dripping with blood!
Under the floor
A super sexy chug opens this track, and a very melodious rhythm bursts forth. The harmonics are tuneful and in keeping with the track. Lyrically, it's superb! The shrill guitar eats into the brain giving it a memorable feel. It works up steadily into a nice frenzy with some good scathing vocals, which is always welcome in my book, but the clean vocals are not bad either! A bit wobbly on occasions but still harmonious.
Why the sudden concern?
Some unassuming strings usher forth, and again with a beautiful melodious chug the guitar comes into play. The clean vocals don’t do this track any favours sadly, however the music really is compelling and the melodies certainly are catchy.
It won’t last
Now this track is a rocker; heavy, chunky and meaty! It has a more sombre mood, but retains that kick ass attitude! My favourite track on the EP so far, with the clean vocals actually complimenting this track. The track which has a great ambient feel to it; as well as some amazing shredding, and a great bass line!
No Rest, No Mercy
Another chugger with superb gruff vocals (which always brings a smile to my face). The vocals really scathe, whilst the music harmoniously glides into a melting pot of metal.
To sum up Dead River are a good melodic blend of rock and ambient metal – their Maiden and Metallica influences shining through on a couple of the tracks, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. The scourging vocals are really raw, and although I am not a lover of clean vocals, there was only one weak track on the EP - Why the Sudden Concern?, which seemed to lack that certain oomph factor.
Overall though, this is a great four track EP. I for one am glad they decided not to go down the pop route, and instead produced this EP which is worthy of an assault on the repeat button! Especially track three.
I don’t think it is the last we hear from Dead River, as they possess that certain something; although I’m not sure what direction it will take them in. No Rest, No Mercy is worth listening to, and adding to your CD collection!
Devil Horn Rating (Out of Five): \m/ \m/ \m/