Review: “Beyond Life” by Deathfiend

Hailing from deepest, darkest Birmingham are Deathfiend, a trio who describe themselves as creating a blend of Old School Death Metal and Punk which is heavily influenced by the early sounds of Doom and Black Metal. While that sounds like a complex hot mess, if you’ve heard “Atavistic Black Disorder / Kommando” by Mayhem then you will understand why the description is one that brings that to mind. The outfit comprises John Pickering (founding member of Doom, Sore Throat, Cain and Police Bastard) on both vocals and guitar alongside Rick Farn on bass and Andrea Pisu on drums with Gruesome Records handing the release of their debut album “Beyond Life“. Recorded by the band themselves before being mixed and mastered by Carlo Altobelli at Toxic Basement Studio (Cripple Bastards, Sore Throat, Discharge) in Milan Italy it was a summer 2022 release which we missed and are now putting right…

The primordial sludge Laden “Crypt Of Fiend” may only be a single verse in 71 seconds but it provides the sense John Pickering is in point of fact the reincarnation of the Yorkshire Ripper. Quite why the opening cut is split from “Rise From Decay” is an all too common mystery which may require Sherlock Holmes to explain as it doesn’t need to be, the eerie solo lifting and Pickering’s lyrics a out dark forces awakening adding to the pure fury of the cut. Fast and loose in the final quarter it adds to the overall feeling of the record being a demo but the quality is actually superior. “Order Of One” finds Pickering screaming “I am Death” with a convincing throaty bark, the swirling riffs written fuzzy guitar giving it a dark  Scandinavian vibe before it cuts a little short of reaching its full potential. Title track “Beyond Life” sounds like Entombed playing Stoner Sludge Metal covers with a Black ‘n Roll vibe in the centre of the heart of darkness that surrounds it. Not quite in riff worshipping territory but close enough for a celebratory cigar and a large measure of Brandy. Dogged and rough around the edges “Embrace Your Fate” charges out of the gate like a Rottweiler chasing a Pizza delivery boy with 80’s Death Metal vibes a plenty and a neck snapping slab of concrete groove in the centre. A dark joy to behind, it’s one that has a timeless quality and could have been inked at any point in the past 45 years and no one would have batted an eyelid. The frenetic Speed Metal ending is a pulverising way to do business but worth every penny before “Myngath (The Numinous Way)” opens the floor. Featuring a guest appearance from Karl Willetts of Bolt Thrower and Memoriam fame, it’s a classic mid tempo chugging riff affair which oozes class, so much so that it actually sounds like a Machine Head demo from 1995 as it brings out the slow headbang that you can raise a poison chalice to. That builds the mountain perfectly for the Doom Metal darkness of “Cyclic War“, another old school skull battering but one which this time focuses a little more on atmospherics, a spoken word in the middle giving the cut an arty feel. All that’s missing is a whammy bar drop solo on one of these cuts to lift it another notch but it has enough about it to hold its own [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Crypt Of Fiend
  2. Rise From Decay
  3. Order Of One
  4. Beyond Life
  5. Embrace Your Fate
  6. Myngath (The Numinous Way) (ft. Karl Willetts of Bolt Thrower, Memoriam)
  7. Cyclic War

Beyond Life” by Deathfiend is out now and available over at bandcamp

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