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CD Review: DUBLIN DEATH PATROL – Death Sentence

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Dublin, California could just be another American city with a borrowed European name, lest it not be for a band comprised of arguably some of the best thrash players of all time. Having been friends for over thirty years and grown up listening to Kiss, Led Zeppelin and The Sex Pistols amongst other sounds of the late 70’s and early 80’s, members of the likes of Testament, Exodus and Vio-lence, to name-drop but a few, make up Dublin Death Patrol. This group features musicians that were present at the conception of the genre; they’re genuinely illegitimate forefathers of thrash.

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With the lead vocalists of the likes of Steve Souza; thrash’s answer to a zombie-version of Gollum and the legendary Chuck Billy who at half a century in age and six feet four inches in height is a force to be reckoned with before even mentioning his bellowing and instantly recognisable pipes; the blueprint already looked more than tangible. ‘Death Sentence’ is the latest offering from Dublin Death Patrol, it was created last year and due to the time-constraints of creating the new Testament record, Billy actually left it up to Souza to produce the bulk of the lyrics – a sure sign of creative trust between the childhood friends. In return, Billy sorted it so the whole band could record the album in the comfort of Testament’s very own studios. The two complement each other gregariously with their respectively different tones and pitches; a welcome change from the singing/growling combination we’ve become accustomed to in recent years from various miscellaneous bands. Truly, the vocals are arguably the best part of the album, they co-carry it and Billy’s in particular sound even more menacing than usual.

If you’re after meat and potatoes thrash – the apple won’t fall too far from the tree here and ‘Death Sentence’ is of course, like all the offerings from this band, thematically tied to demise. It’s a clunky, busy, big-sounding record perhaps because the band features more recording members than Slipknot, with a whopping double helping of drummers and a triple whack of both bassists and guitarists, although live performances often feature a few less than this. Perhaps it wouldn’t be unfair to say that they’re a bit more ‘fun’ than Testament and in true speed-metal style each track composed is under five minutes in length. The razor-riffed third song ‘Blood Sirens’, is where the album really starts to take shape, leading into ‘Broken’, a slow-burner that allows each instrument its own unique entrance and really showcases the brilliance of the vocal collaboration. ‘My Riot’ is another straight-up head-banging beast of a track and the penultimate tune of ‘Macabre Candor’ features the kind of lyrics that you want to hear on a record like this; ‘remember to dismember’, a simple description of gore rhymed tongue-in-cheekily, authentically appealing to their target-audiences styling’s.

The record’s closer is the real jack-in-the-box moment; balls-out punk-rock in the form of ‘Butcher Baby’ which is a complete contrast to the other nine-pin metal tracks preceding it and also rather noticeably the shortest, complete with almost rock n roll-style gang-vocals. It’s unlikely that this side-project will ever produce anything utterly-ground-breaking, but they why would they when they’re staying to true to the very origins of the genre? One thing ‘Death Sentence’ does promise is enough speed and groove manifested organically between its members and embedded into the record to make it impossible not to be whipped into a frenzy the could propel the act of bloody murder.

6 out of 10

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