Deadlands - Evilution
Molten Metal
Heavy/Thrash Metal
10 songs (39:00)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Tony
Of all the great realms of music in the Golden State (a place that I relish, despite my location in Miami and my Conservative leanings), Sacramento is not known for its vibrancy. Save for the governor’s office, nobody really goes to the capital on vacation. Sometimes I feel like a bum for reviewing from my collection. All that winds up happening is a few 80+ and maybe an Album of the Month here and there. That’s not fair to the readers. As exciting as it was for me before my undertaking on MR beginning in 2010 (or 2009, am I getting old?) to see what the moguls had to say about my favorite acts, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to show people what’s between the cracks. I picked up this album from Power/Thrash act Deadlands because I liked the name. I’ve never heard of these guys and didn’t know their genre, so going in completely blind is a service to my musical palate and to the readers.

For the most part, Power Metal enacts an epic atmosphere with fantastical themes and keyboard laden medleys sprinkled here and there. On Evilution, Deadlands embrace a Heavy/Thrash sound with clean enough vocals that they alone could pass as Heavy Metal in its simplicity. The first thing I notice on Pandemic Genocide is that the strings might be tuned too low, but the bass is nicely audible. On the first few riffs, when the mid pitched lead is placed in, the depth of the lower riffs cause too much of a static. They have some sort of track in there with a woman talking, more than likely about the elimination of a target. My immediate comparison is to At War. Those thrashers came out of the woodwork with Infidel in ’09. They share the same lyrical content, around current American warfare, but Deadlands don’t have an obvious political tinge. That’s cool, but I never really cared about politics in music. If I did I’d have taken offense to the Reaganator. My gravest annoyance with Deadlands goes back to the production of their guitars. The riffs aren’t terrific, the solos are pretty solid, but the studio tech made these guitars too muddy. Either Deadlands needs to use this album to increase the budget and travel for production, or they need to truly consider tuning higher on their low riffs. These things have happened before in Metal. While it is not custom to change tuning over a career, Deadlands have the benefit of not having enough of a following to disappoint many. The second track, speaking of which, is terrific. The song is named after the band, and serves as a welcoming to the type of gig that Deadlands hope to improve on. Some of the lyrics can be patriotic to the point of silliness. From here, it could be that they display their political attitudes here. I have no idea, nor do I care, but it’s normally left winged drivel that litters the booklets of bands like Dying Fetus. She’s on Fire is in particular quite bizarre. It’s a track about a hooker in Hollywood, featuring about three seconds of very aurally accurate female moaning. The chorus continues to echo She’s on fire, down below. I feel as if this song was contrived when they were still in their dive bar days trying to get the drunk hotties revved up for the second set backstage. That was weird. Next is Asphyxiate the Masses. This track is in particular a major improvement on the riffs, while there are some cool and very simple spots that just encourage headbanging in bunches. This all before the best guitar solos on the album harmonize and duel on and off.

The album rounds out as a very Thrashy Heavy Metal debut that shows enough potential for this band to make themselves into something. If they get the wind behind their backs to shoot into a better studio and diversify their riffs and lyrics, we could be hearing more from Deadlands.

Killing Songs :
Deadlands, Asphyxiate the Masses
Tony quoted 74 / 100
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