Down Among the Dead Men_ExterminateDown Among The Dead Men vocalist Dave Ingram has the death metal pedigree of a standard poodle with the roar of a rabid pit bull. Widely known for his work with Benediction and a brief yet destructive stint in Bolt Thrower for 2002’s excellent Honour – Valour – Pride, Ingram somehow flew under the radar with his next project, Downlord. Their Grind Trials EP and Random Dictionary of the Damned full-length sported  some of the most frantic, gritty death metal of the 2000’s. It also has the distinct honor of being up there with Nokturnel‘s Nothing But Hatred (another criminally overlooked masterpiece) as one of only a handful of releases ranked by the IFADA (Intestinal Fortitude and Digestive Association*) as ‘an album most likely to give you explosive diarrhea.’ Disappointed as I was when Downlord called it a day, luckily Ingram had the good sense to  align with the diabolic guitar duo of Dennis Blomberg and Rogga Johansson of Swedish death metal throwback troupe Paganizer to form Down Among The Dead Men. Their eponymous 2013 debut was a solid death metal D-beating. On Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!, their second platter of splatter, they even more forcibly batter the listener bloody with an amalgam of D-beat crust punk and death metal, the former comprising the most potent portion of the potion.

“Pyramids of Mars” opens the pummeling proceedings in a very fucking death metal fashion. Ingram spews some of the most guttural and deepest discharges of his career and the band comes out blasting like me in the can after a Suicide Burrito. “Deadly Assassin” is a full on crust attack, and “The Oncoming Storm,” likewise is more Discharge than death metal, and both are catchy as crabs. While many of the songs see the dick swing one genre’s way or the other as opposed to really forging the two, while the feel may differ, the death metal is never lost. “The Ambassadors of Death,” perhaps my favorite song on the album with the most ripping hooks, smacks of prototypical death metal when the fathers of the genre were first finding their feet.

Not every ditty is a triumph deluxe but none are a disaster. “Unearthly Child” showcases some tasty guitar work and a great grinding bass breakdown but, lacking a catchy chorus, the song doesn’t really stick to the ribs. The cover of Anvil‘s “Forged In Fire” struck me as an odd choice considering Ingram already gave it a go it during his tenure with Benediction on the Dark Is The Season EP, but it still slams and they sludge it up nicely, and a guest appearance by legendary growler Kam Lee (Massacre, Death, etc.) adds to the appeal. It’s the only song in this death crust Reign in Blood that goes a few seconds over three minutes, with most hailing closer to two, so even if some of the songs aren’t as tasty as others, they don’t last long enough to drag things down. Like an early Tyson fight, Down Among The Dead Men come in fast, fuck you up, and leave you on the floor bloodied and bruised.

Down Among the Dead Men_2015

The production is much deeper and darker than the debut, with a great audible clanging bass sound throughout. Ingram is fiercer than ever, and Blomberg and Rogga throw in the occasional Swedish death metal flair in spots like the closing of the mid-paced thumper, “Tooth and Claw.” Erik Bevenrud turns in a solid performance on drums, sounding nigh-unhinged in the blasts and laying down a bestial groove when called for. Why he is still a session drummer after two albums is beyond me. I guess it is true, men can’t commit.

In an age when many bands are pushing the envelope in technicality and extremity, it is nice to hear a good death metal album with a punkish sneer flip the bird in the face of what’s fashionable. Down Among The Dead Men aren’t here to break any walls, rather they are satisfied with a few jaws and eardrums. Like crust? Like death metal? Like Amebix and Sacrilege and Discharge and other bands that prominently featured mohawks? Dig in to this dish; the flavors are full and you will find your death and crust cravings satiated.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Cyclone Empire Records
Websites: DownAmongTheDeadMen.Bandcamp.com | facebook.com/DownAmongTheDeadMen
Releases Worldwide: November 6th, 2015

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  • André Snyde Lopes

    Ah yes, the first one was a welcome punch to the face and seemingly; so is this one.

    I actually know a guy who is friends with Dave Ingram. His name? “Dave Ingram (the other one)”.

    I think he reads this blog but I hope he doesn’t…

  • Norfair Legend

    Cool, I always liked Dave Ingram…always liked Benediction but sometimes you just lose track of a band and forget about them for a bit. Can’t find any samples of this new album but I checked out their last one and it’s pretty great. I will be buying this tomorrow for sure!

    • Norfair Legend

      …Oh wait…the samples are in the included bandcamp and facebook link. Man I’m an idiot sometimes.

  • Francesco Bordoni

    2015: The Grotesquery, Putrevore, Revolting, Echelon, Johansson & Speckman, and now this… Does Rogga even sleep?

    • You forgot Those Who Bring the Torture, Paganizer, Demiurg and Megascavenger.

      • Francesco Bordoni

        Not really: I was talking 2015 releases only, and I’m not actually sure I got them all there ahahahah

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          You left out Necrogod for 2015.

          • Francesco Bordoni

            Point: made ahahahah

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      It´s likely that Rogga sleeps with his guitar and leaves a tascam recorder running in case he dreams up any good riff.

      • Francesco Bordoni

        I always love to imagine that he has some kind of ouija board with all the riff elements (chugs, tremolo picked notes, pinch harmonics), and also something like an entire army of monkeys that continously scavenges through old horror movies in order to craft the horrory eerie leads

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Nice concept for a music video. It would likely end up being a Ghost video.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    Ingram was a beast on Honor Valor Pride, but it sounded like they put a sheet of glass between him and the mic. Regardless, it’s criminally a underrated record. “Contact – Wait Out” has what’s easily a Top Ten Bolt Thrower riff for its verse.

  • Kyle Smith

    “In an age when many bands are pushing [a good death metal album with a punkish sneer] [it is nice to hear] the envelope in technicality and extremity flip the bird in the face of what’s fashionable.” Fixed it for you :^]

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    There has to be two Rogga’s

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Are you sure about two? Three is more likely. The guy even takes the time to reply to fans’ emails.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    “Criminally Overlooked Masterpieces” would be a great name for a section singing the praise of… criminally overlooked masterpieces.

  • I am planning on opening my own metal review website. I am going to call it “Lazy Metal Guy”. In it, I will only review or comment on albums that have embedded tracks! :)

    • We will SUE your ass. The rest of you we will leave alone. Get ready to buy some assless chaps, pal. Up side is you can join Manowar.

      • Jeez, you all are so ANGRY!!!! Thats a pretty awesome pic though, by the way! :)