Dead Head - Haatland review
01. Faust II
03. Phantom Palace
04. Supreme Forgery
05. Last Server Down
06. Serial Divorce
08. Dog God
Slayer are sissies. Dark Angel? Hah. Nothing but a glam metal band compared to Dead Head. Haatland, the fourth album of these crazy Dutchmen makes all your extreme thrash metal bands sound no more violent than, say, Avril Lavigne. When I listen to Haatland I feel more bruised than if I was gently mauled and ripped apart by Berserk, my neighbour's male rottweiler. I don't think brutal thrash can be more brutal than this.
Haatland is my first encounter with our thrashers from the Netherlands, and I can already say I don't regret - or better, I do regret that I didn't discover them before. Although 2005 has seen quite a lot of decent thrash releases, this one is on the top of the food chain. The first song "Faust II" tells you the painful truth: the tempo on Haatland is fast, very fast, faster than most of what thrash metal has given us so far. That doesn't mean the album is just a speed wankfest, since these guys sure know their songwriting. The idea is to propose a hysteric album, unleash the violence, hit you hard in the face then calm things down (it's all relative) with groovy slowed down passages like on the highlight "Montana". Though even on the more mid-paced songs they can't help but place a few accelerations.
Those who want some catchiness to go with their thrash won't be disappointed either. Every song (note: EVERY song. This album is so diverse and not boring it's unbelievable) has its memorable moment, be it the frenzied chorus of "Montana", the relentless riffs of "Phantom Palace" or "Desire" or the melodic/disturbing break right in the middle of "Mesfeken". Yes, you can still find the dangling remains of melodic passages buried under the hysteric screams of singer Tom Van Dijk. The song intros are particularly impressive in this regard (try "Nosferatu"…). The solos are about as good as the rest and it would be criminal not to mention the amazing drum work all along Haatland.
Haatland is a truly groundbreaking old-school brutal thrash record that should be ranked pretty high in every good thrash top list for 2005. Brutality, melody, groove, catchiness, great musicianship and amazing songwriting, what else can you ask for? You only need to know that this doesn't get boring even after a dozen listens. I only need to know that you're going to buy it as soon as you finish reading this sentence.
Highlights: MONTANA, Faust II, Mesfeken, Desire
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