Resurrection the follow-up to the critically acclaimed previous album The Seventh Seal sees the return of Italian heavy metal band Death SS and their compelling tales and sounds of horror soaked devilry. Formed by vocalist Steve Sylvester with its first recordings as far back as 1988, the Pesaro band has been an ever potent presence within Italian heavy metal and to a lesser degree the world. Taking, one suspects a more than healthy influence from the likes of Alice Cooper, and possibly inspiring again on assumption the likes of current bands such as Houston! and Superhorrorfuck, Death SS create a blend of metal and drama inspired by horror movies and literature and apparently also this time around the Italian sexy-horror comics of the Seventies especially in the album art work. Resurrection is at times a riveting excursion through crimson red temptation but also has tracks where inspiration is lacking for song and listener, something which suggests that many of the bands they may have sparked life within have since surpassed their own creativity. Despite that for the main the album is a pleasing and easy to return to riot of familiar fun.
For the first half of the Lucifer Rising / Scarlet Records released album, Resurrection is a bit hit and miss, the alternating tracks bringing rides of horror rock and more straight forward heavy metal, and the former much more thrilling than the latter style. For the first time Sylvester produces a Death SS album and does a great if unspectacular job whilst alongside guitarist Al Denoble, keyboardist Freddy Delirio, bassist Glenn Strange, and Bozo Wolff on drums, he leads the stirring passions through a disjointed but appealing journey of rock ‘n’ roll. The album certainly gets better the further into its body you go too, finding a stronger consistency to the variation working its devilment.
Opening track Revived opens on a pulsating heartbeat with a sinister ambience soon emphasised by the vocals of Sylvester. This menace is accelerated by the joining throaty bass and wide rhythmic punches all scored by sonic guitar lashes. Into its thumping stride with a blanket of refreshing electro temptation, the song is a rampant stroll of horror rock which instantly brings thoughts of Wednesday 13, Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, and as mentioned earlier Superhorrorfuck. It is not bursting with originality but as the riffs and rhythms cast their contagious net around the senses and the vocals unleash their raucous grazing it is imagination capturing fun.
The following track The Crimson Shrine avails itself of a more classic heavy metal breath, riffs and drums a tower of sinews whilst the keys paint a symphonic picture upon the big boned canvas. The guitar work of Denoble is impressive and creates enthralling shards of melodic flames across the song whilst the additional female vocals temper things with grace and beauty, but the track is pale in potency against its predecessor and next up The Darkest Night. To be fair some of this is down to personal preference towards the two styles offered but it is an uneasy lie in many ways nevertheless. Its successor takes a mere breath before launching another muscular stomp of horror rock/power metal like persuasion. The electronic veins provided by the keys are like torches, lighting the thick shadows of the narrative which dance within the crushing frame of rhythms and hungry predatory riffs. Like the first song there is nothing unheard before but delivered in the accomplished and energetic style of Death SS leaves a very satisfied appetite.
The decent enough melodic charms of classic metal honed Dionysus lead into the rapacious growl and hold of Eaters, the track a bestial torrent of steely jawed riffs and mountainous rhythmic provocation driven by great vocal incitement, lyrically and in delivery. Again it is no coincidence that the song is a Cooperesque/Murderdolls like romp with lethal dangling weaponry disguised as guitars solo and bass lines to enslaved and tear the senses into bliss, and is the style exciting these ears.
The likes of the Ogre’s Lullaby, with its psychotic whispers and heavily laden vocal tempting, and the metallic swing/swagger of Santa Muerte both ignite thoughts and a little bit of greed for their sinew stretching and especially in the first, schizo charms, whilst The Devil’s Graal is a crawling provocative beast that leaves welcomingly entrenched sonic claws and dramatic teeth in the senses. As mentioned previously, Resurrection gets stronger and more perpetually appetising as it works nearer its climax, both the Manson like Precognition with its rhythmic juggling and carnivorous riffing and the bruising rock n’ n’ roller Bad Luck proof as they leave limbs and passions laying down an accompanying energetic escort. They make a thrilling conclusion to the album and compensates for the disappointment of songs such as the bland The Song of Adoration, certainly in comparison to this last pair. Wrapped in the great artwork of Emanuele Taglietti, an internationally renowned painter and author of all the covers of cult adult comics such as ‘Belzeba’, ‘Zora’, ‘Sukia’, ‘Cimiteria’, ‘La Poliziotta’ to name a few, Resurrection is a very enjoyable album even with songs which just do not ignite any heat for their presence included, and though there is nothing truly new here which has not been discovered and reaped elsewhere, it is hard not to like and want to return to.
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Sickness and darkness song….I like to hear more….