DECEASED
"As the Weird Travel On"

(Thrash Corner)

01. The Kept
02. The Funeral Parlour's Secret
03. A Witness to Suspiria
04. Unwanted Memories
05. Missing a Pulse
06. Craving Illness
07. A Visit From Dread
08. Fright

RATING: 9/10

The very definition of the word "cult," DECEASED have been slogging it out for close to two decades now, their brand of rough 'n ready metal finding an audience that's as devoted as it is tiny (even by underground standards – longtime label home Relapse bailed on the band after, admittedly, nearly 15 years of trying to win people over to the cause). A silly thing like losing a record contract wasn't about to derail DECEASED, and neither was the blood clot and stroke that nearly killed incorrigible frontman King Fowley. Trends, fate, money and the hand of the Grim Reaper be damned, DECEASED is back!

If you don't like long, riff-choked thrash songs, then stay far away from DECEASED. Their riffing is almost classic metal, with some positively melodic flourishes, all scourged by Fowley's hoarse, glowering bark. New drummer David Castillo (ex-HATRED) seems to have helped tighten up the ship, musically speaking, even more so than on 2001's surprisingly polished "Supernatural Addiction". Kudos must be given to the band and producer Kevin Gutierrez for delivering a near-perfect sound on what had to have been a shoestring budget – the guitars sound cleaner and clearer than ever, but they retain the bite that lives up to the band's "sick thrash!" motto of yore.

"As the Weird Travel On" is a bit thrashier than "Supernatural Addiction", with plenty more moments of head-down chug, but it also contains some of the most blatantly tuneful work DECEASED has turned in yet. The end result is the most memorable (and possibly even accessible) platter yet from the band, one that seems more focused and creative than anything in their catalog, without losing any of their face-ripping venom and horror-fiend vision. Don't let this album's relative obscurity deter you from finding it, because this is one of the finest slabs of metal you'll come across in 2005. There aren't a lot of true iconoclasts left in metal — we need to support the ones we still have, and be grateful that they're too fucking metal for external forces to kill off.

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