After years of delays and line up changes, death metal pioneers Deceased finally unleash their latest opus, “Surreal Overdose.” The band’s first album in six years and it was well worth the wait! It contains all the elements Deceased are known for: intense death/thrash with melodic hooks and a dark atmosphere. There’s touches of classic heavy metal, some nods to the mighty Voivod and all the twists and turns in between. In comparison to their previous releases, it has the speed and brutality of “Luck of the Corpse”, some of the moodiness of “Supernatural Addiction” and the songwriting is an evolution of “As The Weird Travel On.” But like the rest of the band’s discography, this record has elements that set it apart from previous releases therefore obtaining it’s own identity. All the songs are very detailed and have a lot going on but it’s not over done. It shows that they took their time to craft this album just right because there’s not a weak moment to be found.

“Surreal Overdose” begins with “Skin Crawling Process”, a perfect opener that sets the stage for the rest of the album. It bashes your skull in at blasting speed but also changes tempos, going into slower, more somber passages that invoke great feelings of dread and despair! The use of samples are a nice touch. They’re very brief and add to the eeriness of the music. The ghastly atmosphere goes on throughout the whole album as the band delves “into the bizarre.” “The Traumatic” is probably the most unusual song off the record. This use of discordantly harmonized guitar leads over a sick bass line sticks out and reeks of pure evil! However, my favorite track off this album would be the closer “Dying in Analog.” The band seems to end most of their albums with an epic and this song is most certainly that. A lot of the band’s classic metal influences really show up here. It is loaded with great melodies, riffs and power! It’s as if the feeling of death is drawing near and it ends the album on a very gloomy high-note.

This album is the first to feature Shane Fuegel on guitar, replacing the now retired Mark Adams. His playing fits in perfectly with longtime guitarist, Mike Smith (now studio guitarist). They deliver plenty of dueling leads and amazing solos to behold. Les Synder is an excellent bass player. He’s the kind of bassist that does everything when it’s called for. His playing adds a certain level of depth to the music other than just being the low-end like with many other bands. A very important thing to note is that King Fowley returns to the kit for the first time since 2001’s “Behind The Mourner’s Veil” EP. His drumming is relentless and his vocals are as powerful as they are haunting. Keyboards can also be heard in some parts, adding to record’s unearthly atmosphere. Just listen to “Cloned (Day of the Robot)”, one of the highlights!

I strongly believe that “Surreal Overdose” will be the best album of 2011. It’s one of those records that gets even better with each listen. It is also one of the few death metal albums of the past 10 years that could hold it’s own with the classics! In an over-saturated scene filled with mediocrity and crap, a band like Deceased is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. They’re a band that is actually bringing something new to the table without it being some limp wristed bullshit and they’ve been at it for more than two decades! For any self-respecting headbanger, “Surreal Overdose” is a must! LONG LIVE DEATH METAL FROM THE GRAVE!

PATAC Records