Review: Down Among The Dead Men – ‘Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!’

‘Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!’ follows hot on the heels of Down Among The Dead Men’s rather excellent eponymous debut album, which is a collaboration (for anyone who has been hiding under a rock for two years) between Metal legends; Dave Ingram, covering vocals (ex-Benediction and Ex-Bolt Thrower) and Rogga Johansson, all round musician extraordinaire on bass and guitars (Ribspreader, Paganizer and Bone Gnawer and more…) along with guitarist Dennis Blomberg (Paganizer), and the trio are once again joined by the dependable battery of guest drummer Eric Bevenrud, for this latest offering ‘Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!’

It’s pretty much business as usual. A consistency of quality is an accepted factor with these seasoned musicians, and if anything, the whole sound is tighter and more honed than the previous offering. I think their game has definitely been upped for this album. Even more exciting is the interesting collection of guest vocalists that grace this album, but more of that later.

This offering is also a little longer than the previous by one track and eight minutes, but all the tracks with the exception of the Anvil cover, come in at compact, sub three minute chunks of Crust Punk tinged Death Metal, opening with ‘Pyramids Of Mars’, a pummelling onslaught from the offset, briefly broken up with a direction change that heralds an attention-grabbing segment of creative guitar work.

‘Warriors Of The Deep’ particularly caught my attention, with its galloping rhythms and subtle groove that surfaces occasionally along with a catchy lead work in the second half.

The shortest offering, and one of my favourites, at just one and three quarter minutes ,‘The Oncoming Storm’, where Punk meets Death Metal in a sublime fusion. Deep rich bass lines and head nodding d-beats all make a great contrast to Dave’s powerful growls.

‘The Ambassadors Of Death’ has a superb galloping drive to its construct, forging forward relentlessly. A drop-away and direction change midway, is followed with the pace building up and resuming as before. The drum work on this track is both unrelenting and superb, pulling all the elements together perfectly.

The first of two cover tracks, Anvil’s ‘Forged In Fire’, a track covered by Dave when he was with Benediction on their ’92 EP ‘Dark is the Season’, and a long time favourite cover of mine (even though I never liked the original Anvil version), gets another makeover, this time with the added embellishment of the guest vocals of “Mr Death Metal” himself, Kam Lee (Bone Gnawer, The Grotesquery, and more). This version blew me away as much, if not more, than the Benediction version did.

‘Arc Of Infinity’ takes on a very dirty, crusty, and addictively catchy edge in the guitar department, with simple riffs effectively deployed, whilst ‘Death Seed’ mostly maintains a consistently crusty gallop to its pace, it does take a dramatic drop in pace midway.

‘War Machines’ and ‘Unearthly Child’ are up tempo throughout, the latter taking on an interesting, manic guitar breakout midway.

‘Tooth and Claw’ has an addictive, dirty groove, that chugs along beautifully, with memorable riffs making a great structure for Dave’s growling vocals to weave through. Once you hear it, you’ll want to keep replaying it. I did.

‘Armageddon Factor’ is a catchy onslaught of brutality and battery, but when the tempo does drop it’s heavy and crushing.

The second cover track is the classic Discharge number ‘Protest And Survive’, which gets the brutal treatmen. It boasts great midpoint lead work, and not one, but two guest vocalists inDonovan Spenceley (Downlord, Sacrificial), and Bob Thunder (Evil , Ripe). I loved the original Punk version but a slightly more Death Metal approach certainly works very well.

I love the riffing on ‘Deadly Assassin’. It’s frantic and varied, but still carries you along with the flow, as does title track ‘Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!’, which has the addition of tight direction changing and a sinister midpoint drop, followed by an unexpected second half shred.

‘Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!’ is an album that should have a lot of appeal to anyone who enjoys Death Metal with a dirty or crusty edge. It has a good mid pace that keeps your interest, and it’s a great album, a fact that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with these gentlemen’s past works. The album is available from Cyclone Empire. There are no videos yet, but track streams are available:

Review: Jools Green

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