It might not be the most startling introduction this year but there is something compelling and thoroughly enjoyable about Creatures Of The Night, the debut EP from The Dead XIII. Fusing horror punk with captivating traits of carnivorous metal and gothic predation, the band makes a strong and promising entrance. They certainly wear their influences on their sleeves but offer plenty to spark and invite the imagination and appetite to embrace future dark bred propositions.
Hailing from Manchester, The Dead XIII rose in 2013 and swiftly bred and earned a potent reputation for their live performances and raw dark hearted sound. Their influences are plain to see and hear, the likes of Misfits and Murderdolls as well as Defiled adding strong colour to their riveting sound so that as mentioned it is not the most original mix, certainly yet, but it also shows a rich potential and invention which should grow and evolve into something rigorously unique with time. The quintet’s stature has strengthened through sharing stages with the likes of The Fearless Vampire Killers, Ashes To Angels, and Bad Pollyanna since forming and now with the unleashing of Creatures Of The Night it is easy to see the band finding a stronger foothold in the UK metal scene.
From a sinister atmospheric mist opening track Stake My Date makes the first insurgence into ears and thoughts, guitars the initial graze of coaxing. Pushed by the firm beats of drummer Spike Owen and the dark bass tones of Paul Ryan, the song is soon striding purposefully with eager and caustic intent as vocalist Kurt Blackshard adds his excellent cold vampiric yet alluring delivery to the mix. His voice has a monotone quality which entices perfectly, especially when surrounded by the fiery guitar scrubs and riffs of Symon Lee and Ste Mahoney, the latter offering a sizzling solo as the track prowls and crawls all over the imagination. It is excellent thrilling bait to set things off, a success not quite matched by its successor it has to be said.
Stage Fright wraps ears in a gothic shadow of melancholic menace and drama initially before from its depths a gallop of hungry riffs and demanding rhythms emerge. Sonic hues spew from the determined stride of the track whilst keys offer a melodic haze of danger to breed an intriguing evocation within the raw canter of the song. To be fair the track is a heavily enticing beast but against its predecessor lacks the same spark, its invention and guitar designs less gripping and potent. Nevertheless the track with its mix of Wednesday 13 and Type O Negative holds attention and hungry appetite firmly in its grasp.
The following Monster Rehab marches in on a blaze of caustic riffs with addictive hooks and commanding rhythms. It again makes for an enthralling temptation but losses some of its potency once settling into a more predacious crawling around the senses. With its once more impressively delivered narrative presented by the almost mesmeric tones of Blackshard, the track is a sizeable offering but as the previous track its depth and its sonic invention comes without the strength and bite which fuelled the first song, though the chorus admittedly is an addictive roar providing an easily pleasing incitement.
The closing Army Of The Dead brings the release back to its opening heights, crawling all over the senses from its first touch and seducing venomously with an enthralling groove and rhythmic hypnotism. Hooks and melodies persist in their infectiousness across the song whilst the vocals again chain attention within the malevolent f bass and drum sculpted caging and its sonic colouring. The best track on the EP, the song brings Creatures Of The Night to an impressive and exciting conclusion, leaving plenty of satisfaction and rich promise stalking thoughts and emotions in its wake.
The Dead XIII has a way to go to find their own distinct presence and sound but with a first step as magnetic and captivating as this their horizons look potent and potentially dynamic. Find their distinct identity and we could be looking at a real pestilential scourge to ignite the British metal/horror punk scene.
The Creatures Of The Night EP is available now @ http://the-dead-xiii.bandcamp.com/album/creatures-of-the-night
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