Death SS // Resurrection
Rating: 4.0/5.0 — Rise of the cheddar!
Label: Lucifer Rising / Scarlet Records
Websites: Facebook.com/DeathSSofficial | Myspace.com/deathss
Release Dates: EU: 2013.07.30 | US: Out Now!
It seems I’m not quite over my hankering for cheese. In simple terms, that means you get to sit through a review of Resurrection, the aptly titled rebirth of Italian band Death SS and their brand of ‘horror music’. Death SS have quite a history, going back to their inception in 1977 with the only constant (outside of the Evil Metal EP) being the odd vocal styling’s of Steve Sylvester. The list of former members is pretty astonishing (upwards of 30 member changes) which probably accounts for why Death SS have done a complete about-turn when comparing Resurrection against its predecessors.
Outside of incorporating two of his main inspirations, horror and occultism in Resurrection, Steve Sylvester references another of his inspirations; the album art was created by Emanuele Taglietti, painter and author of all the covers for 70s era cult, erotic, horror comics such as ‘Belzeba’, ‘Zora’, ‘Sukia’, ‘Cimiteria’ and ‘La Poliziotta’. Emanuele builds his work on a platform of the grotesque, blood, violence and horror, steeped in black humor, all very explicit bordering on vulgar. Baring that in mind and seeing some of his earlier work, I have to say the album cover for Resurrection feels a bit limp to me.
For those not familiar with Steve Sylvester’s vocal style, he strikes you first with his over-reaching scream in “Revived”, attacking minutes later with a horse type of whisper in “The Crimson Shrine”. Tracks like “Eaters”, “The Darkest Night”, “Dionysus” and my favourite track “Ogre’s Lullaby” showcase Steve’s odd and strangely pleasant accent-drenched vocal mix that makes me think of a mashup of Rob Zombie, King Diamond and Filippo Gianotti of Krampus.
Musically Resurrection almost feels like the Deathstars album that I’ve been waiting for since Night Electric Night. Death SS have added a big electronic presence on this release courtesy of Freddy Delirio (keyboards) which is quite unlike their earlier offerings. Have to say I love this aspect of the album, it’s pushed Death SS out of just creating generic heavy metal, giving them appeal to fans of Marilyn Manson, Deathstars and Rob Zombie.
Resurrection is loaded with interesting elements and layers that sometimes verge on feeling a little crowded, with chunky guitar riffs and electronic elements depicting a wildly distorted reality, elbowing and jostling Al De Noble’s (guitars) sick, twisted, screamy guitar solos out of the way. Al has a knack for hiding a truly beautiful guitar solo in among a heap of chaos and ugliness – a beacon of light if you will. Bozo Wolff (drums) and Glenn Strange (bass) handle percussion on the album; fills are gnarled and fit in well with the perverse feel of tracks like “Precognition” and the full on assault in “The Crimson Shrine”.
For the first time since the release of Black Mass in 1989, Steve put himself in charge of the production of the album. He’s a mature musician with around 35 years of experience, the album has an old-school, under-produced feel with layers pushed to the fore in one track and pulled back into near obscurity in the next track. Being that this is a kind of weird, fucked up, quirky journey this inconsistency works in Steve’s favor. On first listen, there are definite tracks that stand out from the rest “Ogre’s Lullaby” and “The Devil’s Graal”, with Resurrection coming in at a lengthy 61 minutes I initially felt Steve should have dropped the two slower tracks – persevere with them though, they work. I had zero expectation for this album, the album art is cheesy and the band name also loaded with cheddar but once you get past that, there’s a whole lot of ghoulish fun to be had here [You forgot to mention the main guy looks like one of the Baseball Furies from The Warriors, and that’s not very metal — Steel Druhm].