Down Among The Dead Men – …And You Will Obey Me (2018) REVIEW

Always on the hunt for mixtures of extreme metal and crust punk, it was hard to miss the hype for Down Among the Dead Men‘s self-titled debut album back in 2013 for it’s inclusion of original Benediction vocalist Dave Ingram. The original collaboration was staffed with Swedish riff-factory Rogga Johansson and his former Paganizer / Those Who Bring the Torture bandmate Dennis Blomberg but now seemingly only includes Ingram and Johansson with the usual studio collaborators. My concern for the project was always that it gives the impression of throwaway fare like some of Johannson’s less passionate projects, as well as Ingram’s post-Benediction dumper Downlord. I haven’t considered any of Down Among the Dead Men‘s records ‘throwaway’ so far, this one being the best full-listen with a simpler approach driven by punkish death metal guitar riffs. ‘…And You Will Obey Me’ has a generally mid-paced, easygoing feel that resonates stronger with me than their over-thought second album ‘Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!’.

Benediction was always the least appreciated pillar of the 90’s British death metal pantheon and though the album isn’t relevant to Down Among the Dead Men‘s sound, ‘The Dreams You Dread’ was a big deal to me back in 1995 in terms of being a death metal album that made me want to pick up a guitar and chug. If I were going to draw a comparison directly to Benediction though, I’d have to point more towards an album Ingram didn’t even sing on: ‘Subconscious Terror’. The punkish mix of grindcore, d-beat, and mid-paced death metal from 1990 could easily translate into the intentions of ‘…And You Will Obey Me’. While not a direct comparison, I like to think of it like relating the intent of early Lock-Up as tribute to the impact of Terrorizer.

Few genres blend as well as old school death metal and crust punk/d-beat and the glut of bands playing in this style have greatly advanced in quality over the last two decades as the sub-genre combo has gone from outlier to common practice. But this isn’t simply a Discharge album with Ingram’s instantly recognizable growls, though he’s most certainly kept his shit together, in terms of death metal vocals, better than Willets (Bolt Thrower) and Walker (Carcass) in their more recent projects. Johansson does a nice job of varying his guitar work from track to track to differentiate the experience a bit but I was so impressed by Ingram’s new project Ursinne that ‘…And You Will Obey Me’ had me wanting guitar work that was more imaginative. I understand that it is a moot point and solely considering the intention of the project in a vacuum, the riffs are totally there.

Yeah, I’m a death metal nostalgia douche and totally here for Ingram’s classic death metal vocals but you can’t deny the catchy riffs throughout. “Eye of Harmony” would have fit comfortably on the tail end of ‘Transcend the Rubicon’ along with opener “Destroy the Infinite”. “The End of Time” has an excellent melodic lead throughout that draws a nice line between death/crust and neo-crust. “The Age of Steel” which ended up being my favorite track on the album for the mixture of hardcore punk breaks and death metal riffs. I’d sample those songs if nothing else. A lot of the album is fairly standard, but maintains the relatively high watermark of past Down Among the Dead Men records and fills out a pretty solid half hour listen.

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Artist Down Among the Dead Men
Type Album
Released April 15, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Transcending Obscurity Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Down Among the Dead Men on Facebook
Genres

Acts of violent dissent. 3.0/5.0

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