Like a swift kick to the frank N’ beans, the new release by this death metal “super group” is shocking and very painful. I really loved Denial Fiend‘s quirky 2007 debut They Rise. It merged nasty, old school American death metal and punk rock with a party atmosphere and although very tongue in cheek, it rocked and raged convincingly. To this day it remains in regular rotation at stately Steel Druhm manor. That debut featured some grizzled veterans of the old school scene like bassist Terry Butler (Death, Massacre, Six Feet Under, Obituary) and mega Cookie Monster Kam Lee (Death, Massacre) on vocals. What made They Rise work was the strong similarity to the classic Massacre sound (their From Beyond album is one of the all time best American death metal albums). The songs were savage and raw but also catchy and fun. Basically, it was a damn fine treat for death metal fans. When I heard a new Denial Fiend album was pending, I got giddy like a school girl. When I heard Kam Lee had taken his immense vocal talent elsewhere, I was sad but still hopeful. Well, hope is officially dead. Horror Holocaust features the “vocals” of Blaine Cook (The Accused) and he destroys everything as surely as cops destroy fun and work destroys free time. While there are some decent musical moments, he renders the bulk of the album unlistenable and there’s no denying that it sucks, bigtime.
The basic musical style is the same as on They Rise. It’s mid to fast paced thrashy death with lots of big, crunchy riffings and wild solos. Its not unlike the first three Death albums or any of the classic Massacre material. Unfortunately, Blaine is unleashed behind the mic and on most of the songs he never stops his weird, insane screaming and cartoon voices, thereby making it nearly impossible to pay attention to what the music is doing. On tracks like “Corrupted Flesh” and “Stuck Pig/Bleeding Out” there are some solid riffs and deathly moments but Blaine caterwauls over the top of most of them and I simply couldn’t take it. When Blaine “The Pain” actually gives the music a little space and tries less idiotic voices as on “Flesh Coffin” and “Fiends Without a Face” the songs almost rise to the level of tolerable. Musically speaking, the coolest moments come during the title track which has a Black Sabbath styled riff underpinning things. Also notable is the nifty solo at 3:27. Â
I’m not going into how solid the riffing or drumming is. There’s no point because the vocals render all that null and void. Blaine’s vocals manage to accurately convey the feeling of being trapped on an airplane for hours next to a shrieking baby. It doesn’t matter what else may be going on, all you hear is WAAAAAAAHH! Its an absolute record killer in every way and the coroner’s report will list ”death by cartoonish screaming” as the cause of Denial Fiend‘s untimely demise. The man needs to learn the difference between extreme vocals and fucking annoying vocals. It’s a bit too late now since this thing is dead to me and I will never listen to it again, ever.
I would like to take a moment to personally apologize to Patrick Mameli of Pestilence for bashing his vocals on the Doctrine album. In hindsight they weren’t so bad. If you want to hear what bad really sounds like, here it is. Avoid this except as a gag gift for people you don’t like very much. WAAAAAAAH!